Jun 25, 2024

Valuing Indigenous knowledge to develop natural resources sustainably

  • Article
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The summer solstice is spiritually significant to many Indigenous communities. That's why June 21, the longest day of the year, was named National Indigenous Peoples Day. It marks a time to acknowledge the history, heritage, resilience and diversity of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples across Canada.

  1. It's also a time to acknowledge the impacts that some projects have had on Indigenous communities and their ancestral lands and to ensure that processes are implemented to incorporate their voices and know-how.

    “Obtaining social acceptance from a community upstream of a project is essential today and helps foster harmonious, sustainable development,” explains Mario Cantin, Environment Director, Eastern Canada. “The adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) as a framework for reconciliation was an important step in this direction.”

    The UNDRIP framework involves the following actions:

    - Engage in meaningful consultations.
    - Obtain the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous peoples.
    - Ensure equitable access to project opportunities.
    - Ensure long-term benefits for communities.

    “Indigenous peoples are self-governing, with their own laws, policies and interests,” says Jean-Francois Bourque, department manager for our environmental team in eastern Canada. “It's essential to treat them with the seriousness and respect this entails. This is obviously in the interests of the project, but it's also a very concrete way of moving forward to reconciliation.”

    First Nations, Inuit and Métis have thousands of years of knowledge of the land where we live. They know every detail and have been its guardians for generations. Developing natural resources unequivocally requires partnerships where their voices are heard, valued and put to use.

    Enjoy the celebrations!

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