Moving Towards Self-Governance and Management of First Nations Reserve Lands: Land Code Communities

Posted by Alison Fraser

on May 15, 2017 10:19:54 AM

In 1990, a group of First Nations Chiefs came together to request that their communities be given the opportunity to manage their reserve lands. This was primarily driven by their frustration with lack of control over lands, which was impeding progress on economic development within their communities.  In short, they were not able to “move at the speed of business” because of Indian Act- imposed processes about land-use on reserve.  Shortly thereafter, the First Nations Land Management Act (FNLMA) was developed and adopted.    Specifically, the FNLMA allows communities to opt out of sections of the Indian Act pertaining to lands management.  Communities that choose to follow this lands management pathway, can apply to enter into a Framework Agreement with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC, formerly AANDC) and develop a Land Code to assert jurisdiction over their reserve lands. Eligibility of a community is based on a review of the First Nations General Assessment by INAC, which includes a review of the financial stability of the community. 

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Topics: Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards, Land Code, First Nation Land Management Act

Six Nations Precedent: Indigenous Jurisdiction and Pipelines in Canada

Posted by Larry Sault and Don Richardson

on Jan 29, 2017 3:20:28 PM


Six Nations of the Grand River just set a precedent for Indigenous jurisdiction and National Energy Board (NEB) regulated pipelines in Canada.  And it's a BIG ONE. The precedent will have implications for ALL Indigenous communities seeking to exercise jurisdiction through environmental and cultural heritage monitoring of currently operating oil and gas pipelines across Canada.  This will have major implications for National Energy Board pipeline projects like Energy East and for potential Aboriginal and industry partnerships for monitoring work where approvals are already in place for existing pipelines.

As we like to say, "SHIFT HAPPENS": our experience suggests that Indigenous environmental monitoring simply makes operating infrastructure projects better for all parties.  We follow pipeline regulations very closely for several Indigenous clients, and we've reported on previous precedents like the Enbridge decision on the Enbridge Gas GTA project.  In that project, our work with the Mississaugas of the New Credit set important precedents - those precedents resulted in Aboriginal environmental and cultural heritage monitors being present at one of the largest pipeline related archaeological discoveries in Ontario.


Here's the story

The NEB approved Enbridge’s Line 10 Westover Segment Replacement Project on January 26, 2017.  Line 10 was built in 1962 and is one of several Enbridge Great Lakes pipelines that crosses major Great Lakes rivers and waterways.  Line 10 crosses the Niagara River, while Enbridge Line 5 crosses the Straits of Mackinac and the St. Clair River near Sarnia. Enbridge Line 9 crosses the Thames River upstream from the Chippewas of the Thames and crosses the Grand River, and then crosses every major river on the north shore of Lake Ontario before crossing the Ottawa River. Enbridge Line 9 is subject to a major Supreme Court of Canada case brought by the Chippewas of the Thames focused on the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal peoples.

These pipeline river and waterway crossings are of great importance to Indigenous communities. The Hamilton-Niagara region is criss-crossed by more than a dozen pipelines, several of them more than a half-century old.  There are so many and, so many unknowns, that the City of Hamilton recently formed a task force to uncover answers and to assess pipeline issues that arise across the region

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Topics: Energy East, Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards, Pipelines, Environmental Assessment Processes, Indigenous Environmental Monitoring

Indigenous Commercial Fisheries - the Next Reconciliation Revolution

Posted by Don Richardson

on Dec 3, 2016 11:27:08 PM



David Suzuki recently wrote an article titled Reconciliation Requires Recognizing Rights-Based Fishing.  It got us thinking about the range of recent work we've been doing with clients around Indigenous fisheries - everything from connecting Saugeen Ojibway Nation fisheries representatives  to Guelph's Neighbourhood Group of restaurants to explore supply-chain opportunities, to helping the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of PEI with regulatory comments on the review of the federal Fisheries Act, to working with the Qikiqtarjuaq ("Qik") community of Nunavut on its growing commercial fishery, to assisting Aroland First Nation and Matawa Four Rivers with efforts to protect endangered sturgeon habitat and spawning areas.

Suzuki really got us thinking about the connections between Reconciliation and fish, especially as we work with clients on restoring lost protections and introducing Indigenous safeguards to the Federal Fisheries Act.  Here are 5 key points that Suzuki makes, and our follow-on comments:

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Topics: Traditional Knowledge and Land Use Studies, Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards, Indigenous Knowledge and Climate Change

Reporting from the Field: ImagineNative Indigenous Film Festival in Full-Swing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox!

Posted by Zoë Barrett-Wood

on Oct 20, 2016 3:52:18 PM


Hi everyone!

Zoe here, reporting on the world’s largest all-indigenous film and multimedia festival. I’ve volunteered at ImagineNative for the past three years, and every year I am blown away by the talent. I just finished my first volunteer shift, helping out with the short documentary pitch competition and the short drama pitch competition.

Much of my time was spent signing in the jury, welcoming attendees, and signing people up for “micro-meetings” (where new and aspiring filmmakers get to chat one-on-one with established film producers, buyers, and other industry professionals). However, I also sat in on segments of the competitions where I heard pitches about films ranging from a documentary making connections between the holocaust and the oppression and abuse of indigenous people in Canada, to a sci-fi drama set in a future of depleted environmental resources, to a mockumentary about a washed up child actor.  

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Topics: Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards

ImagineNative Film Festival has begun! The largest indigenous film and media arts event in the world!

Posted by Zoë Barrett-Wood

on Oct 19, 2016 10:59:15 AM


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Topics: Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards

Funding Opportunity for Indigenous Stewardship Warriors

Posted by Don Richardson

on Oct 14, 2016 1:43:56 PM

Are You Indigenous Stewardship Warrior?

Need some money to make things happen?

Anwaatin is an Indigenous social enterprise.  We want to support the work of charities or not-for-profits whose work is creating Indigenous Stewardship Warriors.
Are you an Indigenous land trust, are you working with Indigenous youth to connect them to the land or are you bringing the technological solutions to climate change to Indigenous communities? We are offering a funding program from the sales of our Indigenous Carbon Offsets.  Apply if you think your organization is the best partner for this funding opportunity.

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Topics: Carbon Offsets, Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards

We're going to First Nations Land Governance and Economic Development Conference October 11-13. Hope to see you there!

Posted by Frances Dietrich-O'Connor

on Oct 5, 2016 1:20:06 PM


The First Nations Land Governance and Economic Development Conference at the Dakota Dunes Casino in Whitecap, Saskatchewan on October 11-13, is the place to be for communities that are a part of the Framework Agreement on First Nations Land Management or interested in learning more about the Framework Agreement:


Come to our presentation: Best Practices in Environmental and Land-Use Planning for Land Code Communities, 1:30 pm at the TCU Place - 35 - 22nd St. E Saskatoon.

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Topics: Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards, training, land use planning, Land Code, First Nation Land Management Act, Planning

Northern Ontario First Nations Environment Conference in Thunder Bay, October 4th to 6th We’re going! Are you?

Posted by Zoë Barrett-Wood

on Sep 29, 2016 11:11:40 AM

Come visit our tradeshow booth at the Northern Ontario First Nations Environment Conference taking place in Thunder Bay next week, from October 4th to 6th:
“The Northern Ontario First Nations Environment Conference is a "don’t miss"event that is the cornerstone venue for anyone interested in discovering the balance between economic and resource development and protecting First Nations communities, people, lands, and lifestyles,” say the conference organizers.
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Topics: Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards, training

Pipelines and Indigenous Jurisdiction: Husky Energy oil spill

Posted by Don Richardson

on Jul 26, 2016 11:47:07 AM

Left to right, Little Pine Chief Wayne Semaganis, Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) Vice Chief Joseph Tsannie, FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron, PAGC Vice Chief Brian Hardlotte, FSIN Vice Chief E. Dutch Lerat, PAGC Grand Chief Ron Michel. Photo credit: Treaty 4 News -

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Topics: Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards, Pipelines, Environmental Assessment Processes

UNDRIP and FPIC, ASAP: Seven Steps to Implementation

Posted by Scott Mackay and Don Richardson

on May 10, 2016 4:57:42 PM

We're off and running with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) - ASAP!!!

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Topics: Aboriginal Land and Water Stewards, Environmental Assessment Processes