First Nations face deep pandemic risks

The terrible COVID-19 experience of Native American communities clearly carries lessons for Canada’s First Nations

First Nations face deep pandemic risksCanadians have seen the harm the COVID-19 pandemic is doing to Native American communities in the United States, knowing it could happen to Indigenous peoples here. The infection and death rates for many Native American communities is much higher than mainstream communities. The American Indian Studies Center at the University of California published a graphic…

Indigenous communities take COVID-19 measures into own hands

Local responses to pandemic are a necessity to protect people at higher risk of infectious diseases – and a strong assertion of sovereignty, says U of A expert

Indigenous communities take COVID-19 measures into own handsOn the federal government’s Indigenous Services web page, the first piece of information about COVID-19 is advice on how to wash your hands if you’re under a drinking water advisory. This highlights the multiple factors that influence Indigenous health outcomes in times of disease, said Jessica Kolopenuk, a researcher in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Native…

How First Nations communities can balance governance

How First Nations communities can balance governanceThe Indigenous commitment to democracy is at stake in the recent memorandum of understanding signed between the Wet’suwet’en, the province of British Columbia and the federal government. A majority of the elected Wet’suwet’en chiefs were incensed about the agreement, insisting the signing be postponed until they were consulted. While the elected chiefs were justified in…

First Nations particularly vulnerable to COVID-19

All levels of governments need to work together to develop a detailed strategy for dealing with COVID-19 among Indigenous communities

First Nations particularly vulnerable to COVID-19The federal government has a mixed record on helping Indigenous communities deal with health issues. In the case of COVID-19, Ottawa must get it right. For many reasons, Indigenous communities are a perfect storm for this kind of outbreak. In 2009, during the height of the swine flu epidemic, Health Canada came under hot water…

Killing resource projects hurts Indigenous communities

For economic reconciliation with Indigenous communities, we need consistent and stable policies for the resource sector

Killing resource projects hurts Indigenous communitiesThe decision by Teck Resources to withdraw its application for the Frontier oil sands project could risk future opportunities for Indigenous communities if it leads to more resource companies declining to invest in Canadian resource projects. Although Teck stated officially that the decision to withdraw was prompted by controversies surrounding Canada’s climate policies, Teck’s decision…

When reconciliation defies the common good

In a democracy, politicians need to balance various interests. Indigenous needs can’t always come first

When reconciliation defies the common goodTen years ago, Douglas Bland, a retired lieutenant-colonel from the Canadian Forces and the chair of Defence Studies at Queen’s University, published Uprising: A Novel. In this 500-page work of fiction, Bland outlines how militant Indigenous warriors and their allies could, in the tradition of Louis Riel, hold Canada up for ransom, stopping rail traffic, blocking…

Finding a workable path to Indigenous reconciliation

Taking shortcuts becomes a fast track to ending the conversation and starting the shouting. We need to build a workable partnership

Finding a workable path to Indigenous reconciliationCanadians have been swept over the roaring information waterfall and plunged into a kind of suspended frenzy, from the ‘crisis’ of Indigenous railway blockades to the fresh hell of a spreading global virus most of us had never heard of when 2020 began. One immediate effect is a dizzying distractedness that makes coherent political response…

Energy industry a pipeline to Indigenous prosperity

The link between oil sands development and First Nations prosperity is clear and profound. Project delays can be devastating

Energy industry a pipeline to Indigenous prosperityBy Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan Canadian Energy Centre When Teck Resources cancelled its proposed Frontier oil sands project last month, Canada lost more than the government revenues and blue-collar jobs the mine would have created. The loss of this project was also a blow to northern First Nations communities. On average, people who live…

Trust the Wet’suwet’en to make the best possible decision

I have no right to tell my neighbours what to do with a natural gas pipeline. We should leave it in their hands

Trust the Wet’suwet’en to make the best possible decisionSwiss physician and author Paul Tournier said, “The worst thing is not being wrong, but being sure one is not wrong.” I wrote a column several weeks ago stating that I support the Wet’suwet’en in their opposition to the Coastal GasLink pipeline being built through their territory. What I have come to realize is that…

Building informed consent for a mega-project

Following a step-by-step and community-by-community process to develop a socio-economic plan

Building informed consent for a mega-projectBy the spring of 1984, it was time to seriously start developing the socio-economic plans for the Polar Gas pipeline’s construction, and it was clear that the Polar Gas team needed to grow on the ground. As a result of strong and fair Sahtu Dene community criticism of the first draft of the proposed pipeline…
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