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VIEW: Indigenous-rights key to environmental wins for everyone

Clayton Thomas-Muller and Maude Barlow, Copenhagen, December 2009. Photo by Allan Lissner

Clayton Thomas-Muller and Maude Barlow, Copenhagen, December 2009. Photo by Allan Lissner

“Idle No More is standing firmly behind its argument that defending inherent aboriginal rights is the key to checkmating unbridled Conservative resource-ravaging on behalf of all Canadians. All discussions lead to Bills C-38 and C-45, critical sections of which loosen enviro controls – and hence self-determination rights – over waters and lands mostly in native territory. One starts to see the possibilities talking to Clayton Thomas-Muller, co-director of the Indigenous Environmental Network’s tar sands campaign. There hasn’t been a major enviro victory in the last 30 years in Canada, he reminds me – from the Great Bear Rainforest to conservation zones, parks in Dene country, Temagami, the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline and Quebec’s hydro megaproject – without First Nations’ assertion of aboriginal rights and title. …An indigenous-rights-based strategy in the courts, he says, is the ‘final and best hope’ of defeating the tar sands and mining surge, and he points out that there are already two constitutional challenges on resource development incursions.”

Ellie Kirzner article in NOW magazine, http://www.nowtoronto.com/news/story.cfm?content=190809.

For further background, please see http://canadians.org/blog/?p=18706 (on the Mikisew Cree First Nation and Frog Lake First Nation challenge against C-38 and C-45), http://canadians.org/blog/?p=16943 (on the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation constitutional challenge against Shell in the tar sands), and http://canadians.org/blog/?p=18699 (on the Hupacasath First Nation, Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, and Chiefs of Ontario seeking an injunction against the Canada-China investment agreement).