Is it time for Canada to transfer resource rights back to First Nations?
In the history of relations between Indigenous peoples and settlers in this country, one issue has been a constant from coast to coast to coast. That issue is land — and land dispossession.
The country was settled by largely removing Indigenous peoples from the source of Canada's wealth and conflict over land endures to this day.
While "reconciliation" has become a buzzword as of late, it's mostly polite talk, unless the land question is dealt with.
This winter the Prime Minister promised a new framework for Indigenous rights saying the government has spent too much time and money challenging First Nations land rights in court. It's time for a new relationship, he said.
That's not a new concept. Commissions, inquiries and reports over decades have called for greater First Nations control over resources, such as oil, water, mining and lumber.
What do you think? Does the government's framework for Indigenous rights sound like a concrete plan of action or more rhetoric and promises?
What would restoring resource rights mean to Indigenous peoples who could start to build economies suited to their own needs and aspirations?
Merle Alexander, lawyer specialising in Indigenous resource law
Eva Clayton, president of the Nisga'a Lisims government.
John Helin, mayor of Lax Kwa'laams
Crystal Smith, chief councillor of the Haisla Nation
J.P. Gladu, president and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB)