Some Reflections on the Land Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Canada

Defenders of the Land lead protests to raise awareness of the plight of indigenous people in Canada in 2010. Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Tomorrow at the University of Essex, Elizabeth Cassell of the Department of Sociology will deliver a talk hosted by Essex’s Human Rights Centre on the Canadian Land Claims process. The talk will be held from 1-2pm in the Law Department Common Room (Room 5S.6.7 – see here for a guide to room numbering).

Abstract: The Canadian Land Claims process is the product of a series of policies and laws directed at indigenous peoples which both denies them consent over the relinquishing of their lands, and is characterized by a lack of attention to the rights vested in indigenous peoples from colonial precedents. As a result, the contemporary Canadian Land Claims process does not measure up to the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and other international human rights protocols. It does not meet even rudimentary standards in regard to providing informed consent, requiring indigenous peoples to extinguish their ownership of their lands, dividing indigenous peoples into configurations that are artificial and diminishing their negotiating power, and creating invidiously asymmetric responsibilities between the state and the indigenous party. This talk in intended to give a feel of what land claims negotiations are like on the ground and to demonstrate that UNDRIP is of the greatest importance to indigenous peoples even in countries who purport to have an exemplary human rights record. It will be useful background to Julian Burger’s session on UNDRIP on Saturday 17th March.

{Photo source here}