Fundamentally modern treaties are about the land. Institutional frameworks, financing, etc. are important. But first and always is the land. As First Nations and Inuit agree to share up to ninety percent of their territories with Canadians in modern treaties, relationships to the land inevitably change. At this point, for better or worse is unclear. There is no shortage of tension to indicate the challenges, whether disagreement on the scope of Indigenous or territorial/provincial jurisdiction, conflicting land use policies, or clashes between hunters and industry. On the other hand, there are many reports of a strengthened Indigenous relationship to the land. This is indicated by apparent success stories from “Indigenized” co-management boards to new land-based programming re-connecting community members to the land. So the research in the Land Theme strives to assess this relationship, identify treaty implementation challenges around land issues, and find solutions.
Initial theme research questions
- To the extent that modern treaty land tenure systems are unique, how can the following dimensions be understood: a) Provincial/Federal/First Nation/Inuit roles and responsibilities; b) Indigenous land tenure arrangements; c) Industry access, participation and conformity to tenure arrangements.
- What is the scope of Indigenous jurisdiction over land and resources and how are Indigenous land and resource laws applied and enforced?
- How do the current approaches to co-management and land use planning address the following challenges: a) Accessibility to communities; b) Communication among various co-management agencies; c) Clash of Western scientific and Indigenous knowledge systems; d) Resolution of competing understandings of conservation and protected spaces policies.
- What are the “best practices” from the administration of modern treaties (land-based programs and education) that enable stronger relationships to the land and how can they be explained?
- How can the lands aspects of modern treaties be better implemented?