Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Text Size

UN’s fact-finder on First Nations sets off on Canadian mission

JOE FRIESEN

The Globe and Mail

It’s a whirlwind fact-finding tour that will highlight points of tension in Canada’s relationship with its aboriginal peoples, but it could also offer a road map to reconciliation.

James Anaya, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, begins his first visit to Canada with meetings in Ottawa Monday and Tuesday with top officials from the federal government, including Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt. He will then travel across the country to listen directly to the concerns of aboriginal people and to observe the social and economic conditions in which they live.

While the visit is sure to draw attention to issues such as poverty, ill-health and conflict over pipelines and mining projects, it could also present opportunities to educate Canadians about the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Canada endorsed in 2010, and on the obligations of all Canadians as treaty people.

Prof. Anaya, who teaches human-rights law at the University of Arizona, said in an interview Sunday that he’s anxious to investigate a number of issues that Canadians have written to him about in recent years, including resource development, land claims, the residential schools and the plight of missing and murdered aboriginal women. He’s also interested to learn more about the outcomes of the Idle No More movement, which he followed closely.

“It’s a broad range of issues, but I’m really going to be guided by what aboriginal people and the government signal as the ones that are in need of still greatest attention. I don’t want to prejudge what I’m going to highlight before I listen to everybody over the next nine days or so,” Prof. Anaya said. “The purpose of the visit is to listen and to learn and to contribute to your discussion on how to address the challenges that are outstanding.”

One of the places Prof. Anaya will visit is the Ermineskin Cree Nation in Alberta. Wilton Littlechild, who is the chair of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, is originally from Ermineskin and along with the chief and council invited Prof. Anaya to visit the community. He said he expects people will want to talk about a suite of pending federal legislation that will affect the rights of indigenous people, including the proposed First Nations Education Act, which seeks to modernize the organization of schools on reserve. Some aboriginal people oppose the legislation because they feel it was produced with insufficient consultation.

Also, Prof. Anaya recently produced a report on indigenous people and extractive industries that endorsed the general rule of free, prior and informed consent as a basic requirement for any operation on indigenous land, an issue of pressing concern in Western Canada and the North.

“He’s interested in whether there are any good practices out there on extractive industries and indigenous people,” Mr. Littlechild said. “He’s always asking me if there’s anything out there we could lift up as a good model.”

Mr. Littlechild said he’s optimistic the visit will spark a constructive dialogue.

“If he would link treaties as a solution with the UN declaration I think it would go a long way to reconciliation,” said Mr. Littlechild. “That would be be a very good outcome to his visit. It would really provoke us to work together.”

Prof. Anaya initially asked the Canadian government for an invitation to visit in early 2012. It took until a few months ago to obtain official approval, although Prof. Anaya said that’s not unusual. Prof. Anaya will deliver a preliminary assessment at the conclusion of his visit and a final report in a few months time.

Whatever Trevor

Dis is Trevor.

Education & Training

Blast from the past: FP archive

When is Consultation, Consultation?

Ovide Mercredi

National Chief – AFN

During a Treaty Roundtable meeting of the Alberta Chiefs, I took note of a federal government document outlining their strategy to define and ultimately impose their own form of self-government. Read more...

Letting go of residential schools

by Gilbert Oskaboose, Nov 1993 First Perspective

There is a lot of "unfinished business" in Indian Country. Garbage that we as a people have never really dealt with. Chief among them is the whole issue of those infamous residential schools and their impact on people. Read more...

OBIDIAH

obidiah picture

ANALYSIS - Bill Gallagher

gallagher picture

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

Under the Northern Sky by Xavier Kataquapit

JOBS

First Nations Cultural Interpreter PM – 02 Riding Mountain National Park Seasonal Indeterminate

(May to October) From $54,543 to $58,764

Closing Sept. 19, 2014

Read More

Regional Media Officer– Temp (Until Nov 2015) –F/T Position

Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition / NDP Research Office

Location:131 Queen Street, Suite 10-02, Ottawa, ON

Responsibilities

Communicate regularly with regional media outlets (community newspapers, radio stations, student media, ethnic media, etc.) to propose ideas for interviews and opinion content Read more...

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Aboriginal Workforce Report

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce released a report that highlights initiatives to improve the workforce participation of Aboriginal peoples. 

Opportunity Found: Improving the Participation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada’s Workforce (December 2013)  

click image to download report

Tue Sep 23 @ 3:00PM - 04:15PM
FNHMA National Conference 2014
Sun Oct 05 @ 9:00AM - 05:00PM
INIHKD & Manitoba NEAHR Conference 2014

EVENTS

September 2014
S M T W T F S
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 1 2 3 4
imageimageimageimage
cartoonscartoonscartoonscartoons

Current Video

RIP Percy Tuesday

 

Thanks to Althea Guiboche for allowing The First Perspective to share her video taken at the Manitowapow book launch at McNally Robinson. 

Percey sings Freddy Fender's "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and people join in to harmonize. 

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO): The Washington Redskins