We received more comments this week in response to the poll question: “Should Aboriginal bands have absolute say over whether resources are developed on their lands?”
From Jamie Barks: “Aboriginal peoples have a greater feel of how the land and animals would be affected, therefore should be included in all aspects of development of industry.”
From Murray Browne: “We took their children and locked them up in residential schools where many were abused and forced into slave labour. We passed legislation to take away their culture and their right to go to court. We took most of their lands and resources for our benefit. The [least] we can do now is step out of the way and stop making decisions for First Nations in the small amounts of lands and resources that are left undeveloped in their Territories. If a mining or exploration company thinks a proposed exploration or development will be ‘good’ for a First Nation, that company can meet with the First Nation and earn their support through respectful dialogue and negotiation. If they cannot earn this support without coercion, the project should not go ahead.”
From Robert Laboucane: “Make note: Only First Nations communities are called ‘bands’, however the Metis have the same Aboriginal rights on the land and jurisdictions as the First Nations. Metis are not First Nations but have the same rights on the land. First Nations also have Treaty Rights on the land that the Metis do not have. Sure would be helpful if those determining the wording of the question really knew anything about the people they are asking the question about. What we have here is mass confusion and the blind leading the blind.
“Even the Aboriginal people with the rights understand perfectly well that an absolute say over resource development on the land is just simply not even reasonable… so they want inclusion, and the level of this inclusion is what they must be consulted about. Allowed infringement of rights and mitigated, accommodated negative impacts.
“Who has the ultimate authority? Some believe the courts do. This is simplistic thinking. All the stakeholders have the decision-making responsibility for mutual benefit.
Figuring out how seems to be the bigger challenge.”