Canada’s First Peoples. Treaties, Land Claims, Status & Issues of Justice. NB Guest Lecturer, Friday Mar. 7, 2003 Claudette Commanda-Côté LLB. Aboriginal Language Families. Inuktitut. Cree, Ojibway, Algonquin, Montagnais, Mi’kMaq. Mohawk Huron Oneida Seneca.
Treaties, Land Claims, Status & Issues of Justice
NBGuest Lecturer, Friday Mar. 7, 2003
Claudette Commanda-Côté LLB
Cree, Ojibway, Algonquin,
The Constitution of Canada places the jurisdictional responsibility
Innu youth- Davis Inlet
The legal meaning of “title” to land has changed and evolved over time. While “status” rights included hunting and fishing rights on Crown lands, the Crown could sell or lease these lands to companies to exploit the resources on them. This was the case with Irving, MacMillan-Bloedel, INCO, etc. for forests, and oil, mineral, and hydro rights as well. Thus, the Crown was not always motivated to settle treaties and lose their power to decide on landuse rights.
Consequently, Atlantic Canada, Québec, the territorial North and British Columbia still have HUGE tracts of land for which no treaty has been settled. The Nisga’a Treaty in northern BC is one of those cases. In the “Calder” case, the Supreme Court of Canada voted against the aboriginal claims that the bands still had a land claim to territory they once occupied. The decision was so close, however, that negotiators havethus concluded that Aboriginal title to this and other landsDID, in fact, EXIST at the time of Confederation. This decision has changed the course of land claims negotiations since that time.
Another decision that changed the direction of treaty negotiations was the Berger Commission in 1974-77 as an Inquiry into the wishto build a pipeline from Arctic oil sites to the US along the Mackenzie River basin or Valley, one of Canada’s largest, least polluted rivers in territory occupied by First Nations bands. Chief Justice Berger convened with elders for the first time in such an EIA process. The ruling decided against the pipeline for environmental reasons, but also because native groups were now prepared ro take action to defend for their land claims which they perceived as rights.
- the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (1984)
- the Gwich’in Final Agreement (1992)
- the Sahtu Final Agreement (1993)
- the Nunavut Final Agreement (1993) and the
- Nisga’a Final Agreement (2000)
Newfoundland Withdraws Voisey's Bay from Land Rights Negotiations
The Innu Nation claims are:
-under the Constitution Act (1982), the original inhabitants of this land have priority rights to lands and resources
-the Innu people continue to depend on land for foods, well-being, and spiritual and cultural values.
-Innu harvesting activities take precedence over other uses of Nitassinan
-because the potential impacts of exploration activities may have negative effects on the Innu people and the land, water, wildlife, and plants that they depend on, companies must adopt strict environmental protection practices acceptable to the Innu Nation to avoid or prevent such impacts.
People at medium or under the poverty line spend most or all funds on housing and food. The poverty line is believed to fluctuate with increases and decreases depending on the current economic activity. It is also often thought that the poverty line will always be there and is ultimately inevitable. Well this would be true if perhaps you relate it to a ladder of 100 people and their respective incomes, having the 100th person at the bottom and having the least amount of income, the 100th person will not be able to reach past the 75th step even if more money was available in the economy, therefore the people will not be less poor but simply an adjustment of where the poverty line is. The problem is therefore not of insufficient funds but the unequal distribution of funds.
The misconception of Canada not having enough funds or economic activity to operate such social programs continues the existence of the poverty line. According to the Department of Finance, we have enough Gross Domestic Product and more funds than all of Europe*, however Canada spends less of our GDP on UI and Welfare combined than any other European nation**. Nations such as France, Germany and the Netherlands do not allow families to live in poverty***. The same excuse is often heard in Nunavut.
Sharon Angnakak, a first year Sociologystudent, Nunatta College,
Iqaluit, Nunavut 2002
In very recent years (approx. 10 years), many more aboriginal people have received education and training allowing them to be employed in jobs allowing them responsibilities and a voicein managing the social and administrative affairs of their people. Some of them see the possibility of “self-government” as a positive step away from a dependency relationship within Canada. People who live in dependency relationships know that this is not the best relationship for healthy social and economic conditions in which to live and raise families.
http://www.incoltd.com/projects/voiseysbay (Feb. 25, 2003)