Aboriginal Interest in the land

For Aboriginal people living in traditional territories, there are two main issues with respect to Consultation: the first is Cultural Sustainability and the second is Equitable Economic Participation. Cultural Sustainability deals with such things as medicines, hunting, trapping, fishing and Aboriginal spirituality.  Equitable Economic Participation considers the needs of and opportunities for the whole community in terms of their livelihoods. When engaging in meaningful consultation, Aboriginal people focus on:

  • the environment and their responsibilities of stewardship;
  • Treaty Rights, Aboriginal Rights and Cultural Rights;
  • consultation and its legal ramifications;
  • economic aspects 
  • traditional and modern usages
  • Traditional Land Use
    • Hunting
    • Fishing
    • Trapping
    • Gathering
    • Settlement and Occupation
    • Benefits from Extraction of Resources
  • Modern Land Use 
    • New or continuing economic activities
    • Economic enterprise
    • Revenues and revenue transfers
    • Permits and tenures 

Some Aboriginal consultation teams consist of a Consultation Manager, a Traditional Land Use Manager and an Economic Development Officer, with all three working together in the best interests of the people.  Elders represent the Traditional Land Users and are usually consulted by Chief and Council to ensure that the proposed developments meet with the needs and wishes of the Traditional Land Users.  The traditional philosophy of Aboriginal people was to take what you need and to leave the rest for your children and their children.

Unfortunately, in most cases, First Nations do not have the funding needed for the complex processes involved in consultation in order for their communities to participate in an effective and meaningful way. However, gains have been made, as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has identified methods for Energy Producers of engaging Aboriginal communities in consultation efforts, which include:

  • Workforce development initiatives
  • Business development
  • Community relations efforts
  • Collaborative resource management
  • Demonstrating Corporate Commitment

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