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  • Writer's pictureDon Richardson

Braiding Indigenomics with UNDRIP and FPIC: Two Books for Clarity

Book Review by Don Richardson, IBA Braiding

#ShiftHappens. On June 16, the Canadian Senate approved a bill to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Bill-C15 provides that the Government of Canada must take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and must prepare and implement an action plan to achieve the objectives of the Declaration.

But what does this really mean?

How will we work together with this new legislation to braid Indigenous peoples' inherent rights into laws? And how is it possible to braid new relationships between international law, Indigenous peoples' own laws and Canada's constitutional narratives? How will UNDRIP and it's requirement for "free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) "before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them". How will Canada deal with FPIC for:

  • taking "effective measures to ensure that no storage or disposal of hazardous materials shall take place in the lands or territories of indigenous peoples without their free, prior and informed consent

  • consulting and cooperating in good faith "with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order to obtain their free and informed consent prior to the approval of any project affecting their lands or territories and other resources, particularly in connection with the development, utilization or exploitation of mineral, water or other resources."

  • redress, restitution, or just, fair and equitable compensation for:

    • the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent, and

    • with respect to their cultural, intellectual, religious and spiritual property taken without their free, prior and informed consent or in violation of their laws, traditions and customs.

Two years ago, a book was published that can help us understand what will happen next. Edited by Oonagh E. Fitzjerald, John Borrows, Larry Chartrand and Risa Schwartz, Braiding Legal Orders sheds light on how we are re-imagining nation-to-nation relationships.

This book engages with the legal, historical, political and practical aspects of implementing #UNDRIP implementation. Guided by the metaphor of "braiding", it's written by Indigenous legal scholars and policy leaders to help us make sense of the possibilities for reconciliation from different points of view.

Braiding Legal Orders is a nice companion summer read beside Carol Anne Hilton's recently published book, #Indigenomics: Taking a Seat at the Economic Table.

Ultimately laws and economics will be braided together in practical ways - often through Impact Benefit Agreements, and similar agreements, between Indigenous governments, private sector businesses, and governments. IBA braiding is where the strands of Western economics, Indigenomics and Western law and Indigenous law join at negotiation tables to create new and practical benefits. From coast, to coast, to coast, the historic and future of the uses of lands and waters will be will be forever changed by Bill C-15, and so will approaches to the use of mineral resources, oil and gas, water, forestry and other resource development and land use activities.

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