Recommended Reading and Viewing

July 20, 2022

This week we are taking our lead from Bruce McIvor at First Peoples Law and talking about sovereignty. The first two resources discuss the timeline of the assertion of British sovereignty over Turtle Island, particularly the Royal Proclamation of 1763. The third resource is an example of returning land to Indigenous sovereignty in an urban context.

What is the Assertion of Crown Sovereignty? | Bruce McIvor

In a blog series called “Indigenous Rights in One Minute” Bruce McIvor’s provides clear, plain answers to questions about Indigenous rights. This month he answers the question “What is the assertion of Crown sovereignty?”

Read it here:

What does sovereignty actually mean in Canada? | Kelsie Kilawna

In response to readers’ questions about sovereignty, Indiginews reporter Kelsie Kilawna interviewed Dan Wilson, an Okanagan Indian Band (OKIB) councillor who holds a law degree from the University of British Columbia. Her question for him: “what exactly is sovereignty and why does it matter?” 

Read it here:

Indigenous Sovereignty: One Land Plot at a Time | KQED

This video highlights the Sogorea Te’ Land Trust, in East Oakland (California), an urban Indigenous women-led community organization that facilitates the return of Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone lands in the San Francisco Bay Area to Indigenous stewardship.

View it here:

July 13, 2022

This week we turn our attention to London, Ontario, to explore the municipality’s ongoing collaboration with Atlohsa Family Healing Services in an effort to provide culture-based care for Indigenous peoples experiencing homelessness.

Since 2016, London has provided funding and support to Atlohsa and its collaborators to develop the Giwetashkad: Indigenous Homelessness Strategic Plan, now in its implementation phase.

What makes the plan’s approach unique is its Indigenized Housing First Model, which adapts mainstream Housing First practices and philosophy into a medicine wheel framework. Check out the resources below to learn more about this inclusive and holistic approach to community planning.

Giwetashkad Indigenous Homelessness Strategic Plan 2020-2023

“The Giwetashkad Plan sets out a vision of home as a place of safety, belonging, and relationship. It provides specific recommendations for addressing Indigenous homelessness.

Using a community-driven, Indigenous-led, and culture-based community engagement process, the voices and perspectives of Indigenous community members with lived and/or living experience of homelessness are at the heart of this plan.

The Giwetashkad Plan shares a community story of ‘home’ based in local knowledge and history, intergenerational resiliencies, and the difficult realities of homelessness for Indigenous people in London.”

Review the plan here:

Indigenous housing hub will address ‘big gap’ in services | Michelle Both, CBC

This article provides the most recent updates on the Giwetashkad Plan, which is currently being implemented through the establishment of an Indigenous housing hub. 

“The hub plans to provide temporary supportive housing for up to 30 people for stays of under a year, as well as an overnight resting space for up to 10 people, a June 21 report to the City of London’s community and protective services committee states.

One of the biggest challenges has been finding enough land for cultural programming, Jibb said. Atlohsa is working with the City of London to identify potential spaces and investigating a few options, she said.

The City of London has committed $1 million in capital funding toward the housing hub for securing a location or building facilities, the report states.”

Read more here:

July 6, 2022

School is out for summer (and so are the bugs!). Whether you’re planning your own seasonal reading list or looking for activities to entertain the kids in your life, Shared Path encourages our members and friends to use this time to get outside, enjoy the warm weather, and continue to learn together about whose Indigenous lands you are on. Is there a pow-wow or other cultural event you can attend in your community? How about borrowing a few books and movies by Indigenous artists from the library? Here are some resources to get you started.

TRCA Summer Challenge

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority’s Youth Council kicked has off it’s #DiscoverTRCA Summer Challenge, a nine-week long contest series encouraging folks to get outside and learn about their local communities and environment. Each week, participants will be required to complete a series of activities related to a theme for the chance to win a variety of prizes. 

The Challenge kicked off this week with the theme of Truth and Reconciliation. Activities include reflecting on treaties, territories and First Nations and Métis communities near you; learning about cultures through Indigenous film and television; and reading and reflecting on the Truth and Reconciliation’s Calls to Actions. Weekly activities for this theme are due July 11 at noon.

Enter the challenge here:

Take Me Outside Educational Resources 

Take Me Outside has a wealth of resources to help you plan a summer curriculum whether you’re reading to educate yourself, creating structured lessons, or developing education through play. Find information on wilderness survival skills, writing territorial acknowledgements, Indigenous cultures and games, and so much more to keep you busy.  

Take a look here:

June 29, 2022

What does a consultation manager at a First Nation do? Well, that’s a complicated question to answer. This week we are recommending a couple of resources that explore this role.

Plant the Seed: Making the Case for a Lands and Consultation Department | Shared Value Solutions

“Over the past decade, we have had the privilege of working with the talented, dedicated, and visionary lands and consultation staff in First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities and organizations across Canada. In this new blog series, we share their stories and the insights we have gained on how to build your department into a well-oiled machine.  A machine that hums with the knowledge it is efficiently and effectively protecting what matters most to your Nation.”

Read it here:

A Guide to Green Jobs in Canada: Voices of Indigenous Professionals | Project Learning Tree Canada

“This 60-page booklet features first-person stories from 12 First Nations and Inuit leaders working in the forest and conservation and parks sectors across Canada. These Indigenous role models describe what inspired them to pursue green careers and share lessons learned from lived experiences. Their stories reflect the values and perspectives of Indigenous professionals at various stages of their careers.”

Download it here:

June 22, 2022

We’ve been travelling around southern Ontario visiting communities, making connections, attending Pow Wows and learning about other organizations trying to advance truth and reconciliation. This week we are recommending that you check out some of these organizations and consider supporting them!

Relational Accountability for Indigenous Rematriation (RAIR)

RAIR seeks to support grassroots Indigenous rematriation and (re)connection to land. We seek to support the coming together of people seeking good relations with food and land in ways that advance dialogue and action for Indigenous land rematriation.

Learn more here:

Nii’kinaaganaa Foundation (Pay Your Rent)

“One thing that those who are not Indigenous to this place can do is pay rent. Through one time or monthly donations you can help to support Indigenous organizers who are building up their communities or confronting injustice. You can provide material support to Indigenous people who are in need. Check out the projects link to see what we are doing in Iqaluit, Lac Seul, Sioux Lookout, and London, Ontario.”

Learn more here:

Ojibiiikaan Indigenous Cultural Network

Ojibiiikaan is an Indigenous-led nonprofit offering land, food and culture based programming in Toronto and the surrounding region.  Ojibiikaan means “root” in Anishinaabemowin. Our roots connect us to the land and to each other.  They are the lifelines that nourish and anchor us. Ojibiikaan works to strengthen our roots through knowledge exchange and land-based projects.

Learn more here:

June 15, 2022

“When we misunderstand words, we misunderstand each other.” This week we are asking readers to think deeply about the meaning of the word “decolonization”.

Considered essential reading by some in the social justice movement, the first resource linked below by Eve Tuck and K. Wayne Yang reminds us that settler colonialism has permeated and shaped all aspects of our lives and that “there is a long and bumbled history of non-Indigenous peoples making moves to alleviate the impacts of colonization. The too-easy adoption of decolonizing discourse (making decolonization a metaphor) is just one part of that history and it taps into pre-existing tropes that get in the way of more meaningful potential alliances.” 

The second linked resource below is a toolkit to guide learning, reflection, and action around the concept of decolonization. It includes a TED Talk by Nikki Sanchez about why decolonization is for everyone and guiding questions for discussions. It ends with links to further pages to explore questions such as “How can we practice decolonization? What makes an initiative decolonial?” and  “What does land restitution mean and how does it relate to the Land Back movement? How does it work in practice?”

Decolonization is not a metaphor | Tuck and Yang

“Our goal in this article is to remind readers what is unsettling about decolonization. Decolonization brings about the repatriation of Indigenous land and life; it is not a metaphor for other things we want to do to improve our societies and schools. The easy adoption of decolonizing discourse by educational advocacy and scholarship, evidenced by the increasing number of calls to “decolonize our schools,” or use “decolonizing methods,” or, “decolonize student thinking”, turns decolonization into a metaphor. As important as their goals may be, social justice, critical methodologies, or approaches that decenter settler perspectives have objectives that may be incommensurable with decolonization.”

Read it here:

What is decolonization, why is it important, and how can we practice it? | Community-based Global Learning Collaborative 

“Decolonization is work that belongs to all of us, everywhere. It asks us to think about our relationship with Indigenous lands that colonizers have unjustly claimed, re-defined and repurposed all over the world. It asks us to embrace responsibility as opposed to accepting fault. Lastly, decolonization is a path forward to creating systems which are just and equitable, addressing inequality through education, dialogue, communication, and action.”

Access it here:

June 8, 2022

This week we are following the fascinating discussing around the Restoule Case and the ‘augmentation’ clause that was negotiated by Anishinaabe leaders.

The resources below pair nicely as the first is a report prepared by the Yellowhead Institute and the second is a discussion with some of the authors of that report (to be followed by a second episode). The report and discussion consider whether the Restoule Case marks a new age of treaty interpretations, with Indigenous law given a privileged space in court proceedings, how this case might affect other treaties with annuity clauses, and how the approach to treaty relationships might be shaped by Anishanaabe legal concepts.

Treaty Interpretation in the Age of Restoule | Yellowhead Institute

“After over a century of attempts to compel the Crown to honour the 1850 Robinson-Huron and Robinson-Superior Treaties. Anishinaabe Plaintiffs in the Restoule Case have made advancements in Ontario courts in the reconsideration and re-interpretation of these foundational historic treaties. At issue in the most recent years of the litigation has been the “augmentation” clause relating to treaty annuities; more specifically, the Crown’s failure to increase the annuity payments. The Special Report begins with a discussion between Rachel Arsenault and Ogimaa Duke Peltier on the context of that failure, the rationale for litigation, and attempts to bring Indigenous protocols into the court. In “Interpreting Historic Treaties: Restoule at the Ontario Court of Appeal,” Tejas Madhur, Blair Feltmate, and Brianna McCann offer an overview of the legal history that was outlined in the trial decision and on appeal. They provide a more precise look at how the Ontario Court of Appeal applied a textual analysis of the historical promises of the Robinson Treaties. In “Trial by Ishkode: Treaty Remedies in Restoule,” David Gill and Kaelan Unrau offer an analysis of the relationship between Anishinaabe and Canadian law that comes to a confluence of sorts in the Restoule case. Lastly, this Special Report ends with a Conclusion by Robert Janes, Q.C. who illustrates that with Restoule, there is a change; it marks a departure from the colonial vision of treaties towards a re-interpretation that could result in a genuine engagement with Indigenous perspectives on historic treaties in the courts.” 

Download it here:

The Anishnabek fight for a fair share of their own pie | Media Indigena, Episode 291

“A pair of treaties covering a territory roughly the size of France are at the heart of a legal fight for a fair share of its resource revenues. Known as the 1850 Robinson Treaties, together they span the north shores of both Lake Huron and Lake Superior, ancestral homelands of the Anishnabek Nation. A Nation forced to sue settler governments over a special section of these treaties, known as an annuity ‘augmentation’ clause—a yearly payment that’s supposed to grow in step with the staggering amount of wealth extracted annually from Anishnabek lands.

Joining host/producer Rick Harp this week for the first in a two-part discussion about the report: Christina Gray (Ts’msyen and Dene Research Fellow at the Yellowhead Institute and Associate at JFK Law, among the legal counsel taking part in the Restoule case’s third stage) plus Hayden King (Anishinaabe from Beausoleil First Nation on Gchi’mnissing, executive director of Yellowhead at Toronto Metropolitan University).”

Listen to it here:

June 1, 2022

Unfortunately, Residential School denialism has once again been a topic of national discourse this week. We decided the following resources may be helpful for members of our network who find themselves drawn in to such conversations, or those who are simply have questions about what is happening.

Truth before reconciliation: 8 ways to identify and confront Residential School denialism | Daniel Heath Justice and Sean Carleton for The Conversation

The following glossary is the start of an inventory of some common contortions used by denialists to try to undermine the overwhelming documentary and testimonial evidence of widespread, multigenerational, systemic and ongoing violence of the IRS system.

Read it here:

Radio Clip: Why First Nations and Métis communities likely won’t dig up unmarked graves | CBC Radio

Kisha Supernant, the director of the Institute of Prairie and Indigenous Archaeology at the University of Alberta, and Sean Carleton, a settler scholar of the history of Indigenous-settler relations in relation to schooling, explain how asking communities to dig up the potential remains of their relatives is rooted in the denialism of facts we already have

Listen to it here:

Pushing through residential school denial no easy task | Niigaan Sinclair for the Winnipeg Free Press

The past year has seen some of the most informed, competent, and critically aware journalism, research and commentary in Canadian history on residential schools — precisely because most writers, academics and reporters have listened to Indigenous Peoples. Instead of filtering and controlling Indigenous voices, as in the past, this has meant Canadians have heard from elders, leaders, and knowledge keepers first-hand. Part of the inescapable truth Indigenous peoples are saying is residential school is a part of a genocide and much of this violence continues today.

Read it here:

Recommended Pathway for Locating Unmarked Graves Around Residential Schools | Canadian Archaeological Association

This document can be used as a guide to develop a Scope of Work that focuses on the application of remote sensing to locate unmarked graves associated with Indian Residential Schools (IRS) and at related institutions. It provides recommendations to consider, focusing on remote sensing, including ground penetrating radar (GPR).

Read it here:

May 25, 2022

This week, we invite you to learn about how cities across Canada are taking meaningful steps to forge better relationships with Indigenous peoples.

As pointed out by Anderson & Flynn in their paper linked below, the duty to consult is an inadequate tool in urging governments to model a nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown. It is particularly ill-suited to municipalities, given that Indigenous boundaries do not coincide with municipal ones and particular localities may have political, spiritual, and economic meaning to multiple Indigenous communities.

Other recommendations for Indigenous relationships with municipal governments have been proposed, however, including the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Anderson & Flynn reference steps taken by the City of Toronto to improve municipal-Indigenous relationships and since the publication of their paper in 2021, the city has approved it’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (see second resource below).

Indigenous-Municipal Legal and Governance Relationships | Doug Anderson & Alexandra Flynn for The Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance 

“This paper calls attention to an urgent need to review Indigenous-municipal relationships across Canada. By “Indigenous-municipal relations,” we mean the ways in which municipal governments conduct relationships with Indigenous Peoples, including ensuring consultation with First Nations and Indigenous Peoples on matters that affect them, Indigenous representation on governing bodies, and entering into protocols and agreements with First Nations and with Indigenous Peoples residing within cities… 

We consider whether and how municipal governments are making meaningful changes to modify their governance models and forge reciprocal, respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples and communities, in relation to distinct Indigenous ways of framing human responsibilities and rights.”

Read it here:

City of Toronto Reconciliation Action Plan  2022-2032

The City of Toronto’s first Reconciliation Action Plan will guide its actions to advance truth, justice and reconciliation for the next 10 years, from 2022 to 2032. It builds on the City’s existing commitments to Indigenous Peoples and takes them even further through 28 meaningful actions across five themes:

  • Actions to restore truth
  • Actions to right relations and share power
  • Actions for justice
  • Actions to make financial reparations
  • Actions for the Indigenous Affairs Office

Read it here:

May 18, 2022

Since our recent press release references the role of Ontario in discharging duty to consult and accommodate (DTCA) in the context of land use planning, we thought it might be helpful to share resources that review some of the relevant decisions by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. 

The first linked resource  references specific cases brought before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice that examine issues surrounding the adequacy of indigenous consultation in land use planning decisions. The second resource summarizes a specific case about whether the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (“MNRF”) met the Crown’s duty to consult before it issued a licence to a company to mine limestone in two First Nations’ traditional territory. 

Municipal Duty to Consult and Land Use Planning Law in Ontario | Donya Yarahmadi

Part one of this paper discusses the legal framework for the duty to consult and land use planning decisions in Ontario. Part two discusses land use planning decisions involving indigenous interests and the duty to consult. Part three of this paper discusses recommendations for clarifying the relationship between the duty to consult and accommodate indigenous peoples and its relationship with land use planning mechanisms in Ontario.

Read it here:

Duty to Consult and Decision to Fund | Maggie Wente, OKT

This decision addresses a number of matters that are both common and important to many if not all First Nations who seek to protect their rights to be adequately consulted and accommodated, including the need for a clear and coherent process, as well as capacity and funding to participate in consultation for projects that First Nations don’t benefit from.

Read it here:

May 11, 2022

This week we are recommending resources that investigate what “decolonization” looks like for professions tasked with shaping our physical spaces and communities.

In the first linked resource below, Tricia Toso argues that “the decolonization of engineering, architecture and urban planning would allow for a re-relationing with the entities that compose and inhabit ecosystems. It would allow for us to move past discourses that position man as the conqueror of nature, to one in which traditional knowledge systems facilitate more complex understandings of the interconnectedness of ecosystems and human activity, and thus engage in participatory and regenerative design of the built environment.”

In his opening words for the recorded event linked below, Khelsilem (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh-Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw) obsevers “Something seems to have changed after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission… perhaps [non-Indigenous] people are willing to change themselves after 150+ years of Indigenous peoples having to change … Today on all those the issues we are dealing with in our communities, we are now asking for Indigenous wisdom to be centred, for Indigenous peoples to be centred and that the problems that have been created by past decisions, policies, regulations and law that we can now actually look at and undue those things or change the course on those things.”

“Keeping the Road Clear between Us”: Indigenous Infrastructure and the Potential for Transformative Design | Tricia Toso

“The decolonization of Canadian cities must begin with the acknowledgement of the role engineering, architecture and urban planning has had in the perpetuation of colonialism. This paper works to identify directions for the decolonization of infrastructural systems through a reconsideration of pre-contact Indigenous architectural and infrastructural histories, a recognition of the ways in which infrastructure was often used as an instrument of colonial land claims, and the various ways in which Indigenous peoples, communities, and knowledges have contributed to the infrastructures that populate our contemporary geography… Finally, this paper considers the ways in which Indigenous design principles offer a great deal of potential in the creation of more environmentally and socially sustainable communities, and even regenerative design.”

Read it here:

Decolonizing the City: The Future of Indigenous Planning in Vancouver | SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement

On September 25, 2019, SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, the PIBC South Coast Chapter and the Vancouver City Planning Commission hosted a panel that explored the work of Indigenous planners in Vancouver. The discussion looked at what it takes to strengthen relations and create new practices and policies with Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations, and with urban Indigenous communities, from a City of Vancouver context. Panelists will reflect on what reconciliation means for city planning, how Indigenous Planning in Vancouver has changed over time, and what Indigenous rights means for urban planning today.

Watch it here:

May 4, 2022

While we usually try to recommend free resources, we are looking forward to reading the soon to be published Sacred Civics: Building Seven Generation Cities and thought you may be too!

The second resource is a free read (as part of an excellent collection of articles- all worth reading) in which Libby Porter discusses the importance of moving over to make room for Indigenous sovereignties, specifically discussing the relationship of the Kulin Nations to the place now commonly known as Melbourne.

Sacred Civics: Building Seven Generation Cities | Edited By Jayne Engle, Julian Agyeman, Tanya Chung-Tiam-Fook

Sacred Civics argues that societal transformation requires that spirituality and sacred values are essential to reimagining patterns of how we live, organize and govern ourselves, determine and distribute wealth, inhabit and design cities, and construct relationships with others and with nature.

The book brings together transdisciplinary and global academics, professionals, and activists from a range of backgrounds to question assumptions that are fused deep into the code of how societies operate, and to draw on extraordinary wisdom from ancient Indigenous traditions; to social and political movements like Black Lives Matter, the commons, and wellbeing economies; to technologies for participatory futures where people collaborate to reimagine and change culture. Looking at cities and human settlements as the sites of transformation, the book focuses on values, commons, and wisdom to demonstrate that how we choose to live together, to recognize interdependencies, to build, grow, create, and love—matters.

Learn more and pre-order here:

What is the Work of Non-Indigenous People in the Service of a Decolonizing Agenda? | Libby Porter

“From the perspective of mainstream non-Indigenous Australia, Melbourne is not an Aboriginal place – for there is neither an obvious (to white eyes) connection to Indigenous culture, nor much visibility of Aboriginal people, unlike other Australian cities. There exists an anxiety about the category ‘urban’ even among Aboriginal communities themselves, because it registers a context that too readily occludes their existence and sovereignty. It suggests extermination and so ‘urban’ is sometimes decisively refused.

Yet, an important struggle is to make more visible the fact that ‘country is still here, still present. ‘Country’ is not ‘out there’ beyond the city limits, somewhere or somewhen else. It is the rock and soil into which the concrete and steel of the city is bolted. It is the sky country into which the buildings of the central city soar. It is the tree on the banks of the Birrarung still providing, nurturing, inviting me and many others. To indigenous peoples the city is a profoundly important yet fundamentally problematic place in which to think about the responsibility of planning.”

Read or listen to it here:

 (Note: the link to this resource also includes several other excellent reads. To get to this specific article, scroll to roughly halfway down the webpage.) 

April 27, 2022

This week we are looking at the follow through on financial commitments from Canada to Indigenous peoples. The two resources we are sharing take a look behind the dollar value commitments to see how those amounts compare to what is needed, who the money goes to, and how it is actually spent.

The first resource takes a dive into the recently released Budget 2022, surmising that what the current government values in relation to Indigenous futures revolves around resource development and economic partnerships rather than Indigenous climate action or Indigenous-led self-determination.

The second resource interviews individuals who are discovering records that should have informed  the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) including shocking revelations such as that “treaty annuities for the children were often paid to the school, not the student… that meant the survivors were subsidizing their own time in the schools.” (Note that the video for the second resource contains more information than the transcript).

Balancing The Budget At Indigenous People’s Expense | Riley Yesno for the Yellowhead Institute

“Budget 2022’s commitments to Indigenous people are insufficient but unsurprising.  Given the waning attention to reconciliation over the past two years, it is not shocking that Indigenous people had 40% of investments reduced from one budget to the next.

While it isn’t shocking, it does have serious consequences for the ability of Indigenous people in this country to prosper. As we know, existing gaps in funding will take a substantial amount of resources to bridge, likely over several years. Each insufficient budget that is announced only deepens those gaps — effectively working to keep Indigenous people in a fiscal relationship where, despite having clear needs and demands, they are left to work with pennies of what is actually owed.”

Read it here:

Audit needed to find treaty payments that went to schools rather than residential school survivors | Paul Barnsley for APTN Investigates

Mike Cagachee and retired Algoma University professor Edward Sadowski, has been looking through old records in the national archives relating to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). Cachagee said Canada’s role as administrator for the settlement agreement led to serious conflicts of interest on the government’s part and that the settlement agreement should be re-opened to address old developments and new.

View or read it here:

April 13, 2022

Following the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in late March that the provincial and federal government should help cover the legal costs of Beaver Lake Cree First Nation, we are recommending resources that examine this case and highlight the challenges First Nations face to defend their rights.

The Cost of Denial: Case Comment on Anderson v. Alberta | Kate Gunn for First Peoples Law

“Like the recent, long-overdue papal apology for harms to Indigenous Peoples as a result of Canada’s residential school system, the Anderson decision stirs mixed responses. While the decision represents a positive step forward for Indigenous Peoples seeking to protect and vindicate their rights, it also stands as a reminder of the colonial foundations on which Canada rests.”

Read it here:

Are you poor enough?’: First Nations face compounding financial hardship when defending rights in court | Stephanie Wood for The Narwhal

“Even though Indigenous Rights are recognized under Indigenous law, the Canadian constitution, treaties and precedent-setting court cases, negotiations between the Crown and Indigenous Peoples often fail First Nations, forcing communities to spend millions just to get their day in court.”

Read it here:

Beaver Lake Cree Nation celebrates victory at Supreme court in funding case | Chris Stewart for APTN

April 6, 2022

This week, we are turning our eyes to the North where the First Nation of Na-Cho Nyak Dun (FNNND) is taking the Yukon Territorial Government to court over failures to adhere to a modern treaty agreement. This particular case is of interest to us because it represents one of the first legal tests of a modern treaty agreement, with direct implications on land use planning.

The FNNND government brought the case against the territory and Metallic Minerals in March 2021 for the approval of 52 quartz claims on its traditional territory. First Nation alleged that land use planning needed completion and consultation hadn’t occurred. The FNNND, among other Indigenous nations from the region, signed a series of four Final Agreements with the Yukon and the Government of Canada throughout the 1990s. A coalition of environmentalists and Indigenous nations have been fighting to protect this particular region for over a decade. The decisions also upheld the principle of “the honour of the Crown [which] requires the Crown to act in a way that accomplishes the intended purposes of treaty and statutory grants to Aboriginal peoples.”

Protecting the Peel Watershed | Thomas Berger at Carlton University

Watch this presentation featuring appellants from the previous Peel Watershed case to learn about its impacts on Indigenous policy.

Listen to it here:

Read more about the movement to Protect the Peel here:

March 30, 2022

This week summary we are examining how the colonial approach to conservation, which has traditionally excluded- even displaced- Indigenous peoples, is shifting in recognition of the fundamental role Indigenous peoples play in the health of our planet.

While the first recommended resource is based on experiences in the United States (and notably uses different terminology including “Tribe” to refer to a First Nation) there are important lessons shared about building relationships between Indigenous peoples and non-Indigenous conservation organizations and funders. The paper references the metaphor of a fence, representing the colonial approach to conservation, and indeed Western-thinking as a whole, which is worth quoting in full: 

Fences are a metaphor and an omnipresent physical marker of colonization and the accompanying world view that created what we currently call the United States and Canada. Fences, which followed surveying, contain the notion that land can be owned, sold, and divided into private parcels and others excluded from it – or contained within it. Fences contain the idea that landscapes and species can be separated from one another and somehow remain intact or – worse – that their failure to remain intact is not important… As a metaphor, it is powerful because it is straight-forward and easy to understand. Segmenting land into parcels embodies the linear, Western-thinking that impedes and cuts off interconnection. It is a tool of colonialization, domestication, and the settler-colonial states that follow. Categorical parceling and breaking down is part of Western life: science; capitalism; the way people perceive the world around them, their role in it, and what is available for humans; federal policies; and the assimilation policies forced on Indigenous communities. In contrast, Indigenous worldviews recognize interdependence with the land, water, and air; this includes relationship with all beings – human and more-than-human.

The other resources linked below explain and provide insights into Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs).

UNFENCING THE FUTURE Voices On How Indigenous and Non-Indigenous People and Organizations Can Work Together Toward Environmental and Conservation Goals | Hester Dillon (Cherokee Nation), 4 Rivers Consulting, LLC.

“The goal of this project was to inform and support non-Indigenous conservation groups and conservation and environmental funders’ staff and boards working with Indigenous communities. Its geographic focus is what is currently parts of the western contiguous United States, Alaska, and western Canada…Recognizing that when we need to learn new information, we often seek out others we know who have undergone similar learning, this guide attempts to recount different journeys taken by organizations and staff. There are two general paths: the journeys of non-Indigenous organizations and funders to work with Indigenous communities or governments and the journeys of Indigenous people, non-profits, and government employees to work with non-Indigenous environmental and conversation organizations and/or funders. I have tried to focus on positive aspects and stories, hopefully modeling and showcasing entry points for those interested in working with Indigenous communities or strengthening existing work…”

Read it here:

Moving beyond colonial conservation models: Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas offer hope for biodiversity and advancing reconciliation in the Canadian boreal forest | Environmental Reviews 

This 2018 article specifically discusses the Boreal Forests and role of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) in protecting those forests.

Read it here:

Coming to know Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas | Ontario Nature Blog

This resource provides a good overview of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) and links to many other helpful resources.

Read it here:

Transforming Conservation: Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas in Ontario

This video captures some highlights from the Transforming Conservation: Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) gathering, held in May 2018 in London, ON. This event was hosted by Trent University’s Indigenous Environmental Studies and Sciences program, Plenty Canada, Walpole Island land Trust and Ontario Nature,

View it here:

March 23, 2022

You may be wondering: what is the “Land Back” movement and why is it so important to Indigenous people to have land rights? This week we are recommending resources that help explain why access to land and land rights are crucial for Indigenous sovereignty and maintenance of the collective identity. 

The first resource linked below presents a discussion of land as it relates to economic development for Indigenous communities, but also provides wealth of information on everything from history of dispossession of Indigenous lands in Canada to the land claims process, the treaty lands entitlement process, and land management. This chapter contains a specific section on engaging Indigenous communities in regional and municipal land use planning: “Under a functional perspective, the links that Indigenous territories have with surrounding areas have to be better framed and operationalised. This would generate better understanding of shared needs and means to address it. It can support the development of more well-structured partnerships for infrastructure development. It is relevant thus regardless of the land management model in place.”

The second resource linked below is a blog-style article encouraging readers to question their reactions to protests they encounter in support of Land Back, written by Mnawaate Gordon-Corbiere, a member of M’Chigeeng First Nation (located on Manitoulin Island).

Linking Indigenous Communities with Regional Development in Canada Chapter 3: The importance of land for Indigenous economic development | OECD Rural Policy Reviews

“The objective of this chapter is to assess and provide recommendations about how to improve the ways Indigenous peoples in Canada secure and use land. The chapter starts by offering an historical contextualisation of Indigenous lands and explores how they can promote community development. The second section sets out the Indigenous land rights framework in Canada, which differs between First Nations, Métis and Inuit. The chapter then explores how treaty rights have evolved in recent years and outlines mechanisms to expand the land base. Following this, the chapter examines how Indigenous groups can better manage land, participate in or undertake land use planning, establish objectives for community development and obtain revenues from land. The chapter ends with a discussion of Indigenous land rights in relation to natural resource development projects, including frameworks for participation and consultation.”

Read it here:

Land Sovereignty Now | Mnawaate Gordon-Corbiere

“Even though protests about land happen in different areas, involve different Indigenous nations, and centre around seemingly different disputes, they are actually related to the central issue of Indigenous land sovereignty.”

Read it here:

March 16, 2022

This week, the news item (linked below) about Treaty 8 First Nations withdrawing from the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) had us thinking about treaty governance and how Canada should be working with treaty partners. Grand Chief Arthur Noskey declared “the clout that treaty territories have is because they are sovereign with the treaty so we don’t want a scapegoat, which is AFN, for Canada to undermine all treaty agreements by using something that was never part of treaty. That is why … Treaty 8 will not support anything like that”. So, while we will not weigh in on the appropriateness of bodies like AFN negotiating with Canada on behalf of treaty signatories, we will ask what could good treaty governance look like?

In the first article linked below, Sam Manitowabi  discusses the Anishinawbek Enahkonegawin pledge and how it captures the spirit and intent of treaty governance for the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850. The second resource is a clip of James (Sakej) Youngblood Henderson Speaking to AFN about governance and, if you enjoy reading academic papers, Henderson’s argument for inclusive federalism that recognizes treaty federalism in the distribution and limits of powers is also linked below.

Treaty Governance- What is it? | E-WiindamaagejigTheRobinson Huron Treaty Times

This text discusses the approach of the Robinson Huron Waawiindamaagewin, representing the Robinson Huron Treaty (1850) First Nations signatories, to developing treaty governance framework.

Read it here:

James (Sakej) Youngblood Henderson Speaking to AFN | The KA NA TA Conversations

In his address to the Assembly of First Nations, Henderson speaks about the concept of governance:

“Through all the constitutional talks that we’ve had with Canada the one word that we’ve had the deepest trouble translating in any indigenous language is the concept of government…the most effective word in most aboriginal languages is “relationships” which is not the same as governance. It is a relationship with family, a relationship with the natural world, a relationship with people who come into your territory, and ultimately a relationship with the inner person and the external person.”

Watch it here:

UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and Treaty Federalism in Canada | James [Sa’ke’j] Youngblood Henderson

“To honourably implement the treaties and the right to self determination in Canada requires the constitutional reconciliation of the treaty federation with the provincial federation to generate an honourable Canadian federation. As Grand Chief Willie Littlechild perceives the supremacy of treaties, the UNDRIP and the calls to action of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission are the strands of a sweetgrass braid that are being woven together to breathe life into section 35 of the Constitution and make it stronger.”

Read it here:

March 9, 2022

This week, in recognition of International Women’s Day, we honour the work done by Indigenous women land defenders. The below resources discuss what it is like for Indigenous women who are defending land and water, their cultures, their communities and their sovereignty from encroaching, non consensual development.

Indigenous land defenders: Don’t Call Me Resilient 

Host Vinita Srivastava interviews Ellen Gabriel and Anne Spice, who have stood up to armed forces to protect land. Their work to defend land is about protecting the environment, but it is much more than that. It is fundamentally about survival and the right to live openly on what is stolen land. Ellen Gabriel has been resisting land encroachment for 31 years. She was at the centre of the 1990 Kanehsatake resistance. You might know it as the Oka Crisis. It was a 78-day stand-off to protect ancestral Kanien’kéha:ka land or Mohawk land, in Québec. It was a moment in history that many say helped wake them up to Indigenous issues. Anne Spice is a professor of geography and history at Ryerson University. Anne, who is Tlingit from Kwanlin Dun First Nation, was recently on the front lines in the defense of Wet’suwet’en Land. 

Listen to it here:

On defending the Indigenous women land defenders: A Conversation with Dr. Sherry Pictou

KAIROS  interviews Dr. Sherry Pictou about Mother Earth and Resource Extraction (MERE), an online hub to connect and help further empower women land and water defenders in Canada and worldwide. Dr. Pictou is an Assistant Professor of Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University. Dr. Pictou is a Mi’kmaw woman from L’sɨtkuk (water cuts through high rocks), known as Bear River First Nation, Nova Scotia. She is an inaugural fellow at Yellowhead Institute at Ryerson University.

Read it here:

March 2, 2022

This week, we are reviewing the Civic-Indigenous Engagement Toolkit, produced by Evergreen and Future Cities Canada. Released last month, the toolkit gives historical context to the colonial nature of contemporary planning practices in Canada. In addition, it provides practical teachings – including case studies –  tools, and approaches for community engagement between municipalities, civic organizations, and Indigenous nations. As they explain, “The history and future of cities in Canada are interwoven with Indigenous peoples, lands, rights, systems, identities and futures so it’s appropriate that municipalities and civic leaders commit to investing in and supporting opportunities directed at the restoration of land rights, strengthening of cultural identities and capacity building, and building robust communities that are self-determined by Indigenous peoples. It makes sense that their identity, presence, contributions and voices as Indigenous peoples are reflected throughout public spaces, institutions, and services throughout cities, based on their visioning and needs.” According to the creators, the toolkit is meant for “all those who are interested and passionate about Indigenous worldviews and truth and reconciliation,” though it will be “especially useful for community leaders, practitioners staff from municipalities, civic and cultural organizations working in the spaces of placekeeping, city building and reconciliation and who want to strengthen their relationships with Indigenous partners.” 

Civic-Indigenous Placekeeping and Partnership Building Toolkit

Check it out here:

February 23, 2022

Thanks to the incredible efforts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, survivors, and activists, most learners will now be familiar with how the Indian Act forced Indigenous children into the harrowing residential school system. (If you’re not familiar, visit to start your learning). Following content creator Zhaawnong Webb on Instagram (@zhaawnong), we have been reminded that there is a long list of damaging laws and  policies implemented under the Indian Act that many people are not aware of. So this week we are providing links to resources that examine some of these policies and provide some much needed context for notions of “status”, “land back”, and  “tax dollars”.

Enfranchisement Policies:

The Pass System

Leasing and surrendering reserve land without consent:

The Indian Trust Fund:

Starvation Policy:

The Oliver Act:

Preventing access to legal counsel

February 16, 2022

When talking about Indigenous-municipal relationship building, we  focus on First Nations on whose treaty or traditional territory we are situated. It is important for municipalities to recognize the sovereignty of these Nations on their own land, to respect their unique relationships to the land, and work with their political representation. However there is another group of Indigenous individuals who are greatly affected by municipal decision-making who most often do not have political representation: urban Indigenous peoples. This week we encourage you to learn about the long history of colonial efforts to control the movement of Indigenous peoples through the reserve system, and generally exclude Indigenous peoples from participating in and benefitting from urban centres (even though many modern day cities, including Toronto, were built on  Indigenous settlements). We encourage you to learn about the role of Friendship Centres in supporting Indigenous individuals to exert their rights  and how UNDRIP applies to urban Indigenous peoples.

Urban Indigenous People: “Not just passing through” 2019 Research Report | The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples

“Government policies about who is and is not Indigenous have changed over time but they have consistently created significant divisions among Indigenous peoples… These policies have also impacted urban Indigenous peoples’ experiences of identity and community by privileging “tribal lands” and dismissing urban life as “less authentic and less legitimate” (Though the vast majority of Indigenous peoples live in urban centres, the insistence that rights and identity must be tied to land obscures urban Indigenous experiences and perpetuates the notion of Indigenous peoples as “nature in human form”).

Urban Indigenous communities are organizing across Canada, contesting the colonial belief that cities are non-Indigenous spaces… Through these efforts, urban Indigenous identities are being recognized as positive, complex, authentic, and pluralist. However, the bulk of the responsibility for making cities safe places for Indigenous peoples cannot fall on Indigenous communities – governments and all of society have a part in decolonizing urban spaces.”

Read it here:

Urban Indigenous perspectives on the Legislative Proposal regarding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous peoples |The National Association of Friendship Centres (NAFC)

“As Indigenous peoples are living in urban and rural communities, we are consistently and actively seeking effective ways to uphold our individual and collective rights and have started our own economic and social systems in urban areas. Friendship Centres were started by Indigenous peoples in the 1950s who were increasingly migrating to urban environments and needed Indigenous owned and operated entities to maintain community, connection and access to culture.

Some people may have little to no affiliation or even be excluded from the decision-making process of their governments due to their residency or location. The result is that urban Indigenous organizations, while not governments or formal representative entities, have information that is vital to consider when making decisions about Indigenous matters.”

Read it here:

Imagining Urban Indigenous Sovereignty & Space Through Canadian UNDRIP Legislation | The Yellowhead Institute

“As has been pointed out by others, Canadian cities have largely been neglected when thinking about and reimagining the relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples, leading some to suggest this ongoing silence about the political status of urban Indigenous peoples amounts to a strategy to reproduce settler colonial relationships, which are oftentimes reflected in the reproduction of space in Canada. 

In other words, the tendency to ignore the political status of urban Indigenous peoples has created the impression that Canadian cities and towns are ‘off-limits’ when thinking about the meaning of Indigenous jurisdiction, nationhood, and self-determination.

UNDRIP provides the opportunity to reimagine the political status of urban Indigenous peoples, and move towards the development of urban Indigenous governance structures.” 

Read it here:

February 9, 2022

This week, we are examining what it looks like to incorporate Indigenous values into planning and design. We were inspired by the recent event hosted by ULI on Indigenous city building that discusses incorporating Indigenous values into all projects, including two examples from the Toronto area. As pointed out by panelist Eladia Smoke (Smoke Architecture Inc.) “Part of the challenge of our nation has been that Indigenous viewpoints have been intentionally sublimated to the detriment of all Canadians.” Also, with the upcoming event hosted by the University of Manitoba on Indigenous design and planning, we thought it would be appropriate to highlight the planning principles they developed with the guidance and support of various Indigenous groups.

Indigenous City Building: Signature projects in Canadian cities  | ULI Canada

Significant development partnerships with Indigenous stakeholders are poised to transform the landscape in major Canadian cities. In this recorded webinar jointly hosted by ULI British Columbia, Alberta and Toronto, four examples of this exciting urban frontier in city building are featured, that are raising the bar on the capacity for real estate development to deliver positive environmental and social impacts. The featured projects include Taza Development (Calgary), Indigenous Hub (Toronto), Toronto Public Library’s Dawes Rd. Branch, and Heather Lands, Jericho Lands, and Statləw̓ District (Vancouver).

View it here:

Indigenous Planning and Design Principles | University of Manitoba

The University of Manitoba Campus Plan has overarching Indigenous Planning and Design Principles that have been established to guide planning and design on all University lands and campuses, based on the high priority placed on Indigenous Achievement and reconciliation at the University of Manitoba. These principles were developed collaboratively under the guidance of an Indigenous Advisory Committee and Subcommittee, and supported by the University’s Indigenous Advisory Circle during the Visionary (re) Generation master planning process. Although the principles are a source of design and planning guidance, they do not encapsulate the depth and complexity of Indigenous teachings, knowledge, and cultures. In this respect, they represent a starting point, and implementing the principles in campus projects will require further engagement with Indigenous Elders, traditional knowledge holders, and leaders.

Read it here:

February 2, 2022

We keep revisiting resources that talk about law because we believe it is fundamental that non-Indigenous peoples recognize that the law in Canada was imported by setters and is not an impartial institution suited to resolving disputes between nations. And yet Indigenous Nations in Canada are forced to air their grievances with Canada (the Crown) through Canadian courts. In other words, despite the supposed nation-to-nation relationship, any justice must be sought through a Canadian lens that holds up settler colonial values and worldviews.  Despite what many settlers believe, the original “laws of the land” were Indigenous laws. In her analysis of the CN V. Doe ruling, Kate Gunn of First Peoples Law points to how “the Crown’s ongoing failure to recognize and respect Indigenous laws and jurisdiction” underlies the disputes such as what has been taking place in Wet’suwet’en. Moreover, she asserts that in this case, once again BC courts have allowed “third parties to prosecute actions against Indigenous people and their supporters… [increasing] the likelihood that issues which engage fundamental issues about the Crown’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples will be determined in the context of third-party prosecutions.”  We also recommend that your revisit the webinar we did with the Urban Land Institute back in November 2020 discussing the related issued of land, sovereignty, law and the implications for Indigenous- non Indigenous relationships.

Whose Rule of Law? Case Comment on CN Rail V. Doe | Kate Gunn, First Peoples Law

“In 2020, the conflict over the Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern BC ignited a series of country-wide solidarity actions in support of Wet’suwet’en hereditary leaders who sought to protect their territory from unwanted development. 

Two years later, the fallout from those actions continues to play out in the courts, including in the recent Canadian National Railway Company v Doe decision… We consider the implications of the decision and what it reveals about Canadian courts’ approach to the ‘rule of law’ in the context of Indigenous law and jurisdiction.”  

Read it here:

Whose Land and Whose Law: Indigenous Land Rights, Examining the Duty to Consult & Accommodate| Shared Path and the Urban Land Institute

In this moderated conversation, we discuss different (and often conflicting) perspectives on land, sovereignty, and applicable law, and how these notions play out in the Duty to Consult and Accommodate. With regards to land and sovereignty we will discuss our treaty making history in southern Ontario, including the obligations, interpretations, legality, governance, and failures of some of these contracts. We will draw the connection between our early history and the current existence of Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. We will then introduce Indigenous legal systems and how they may contrast Canadian (settler) legal systems. These discussions will set the stage for a conversation about the Duty to Consult and Accommodate, how and when it is triggered , who is responsible, why it is often confusing and difficult to implement, why it is inadequate in many cases, and how we might move beyond it.

View it here:

January 26, 2022

This week we are recommending resources that talk about the processes of colonization – and decolonization- from the perspectives of a variety of Indigenous peoples

Podcast Series: Telling Our Twisted Histories

“Words connect us. Words hurt us. Indigenous histories have been twisted by centuries of colonization. Host Kaniehti:io Horn brings us together to decolonize our minds– one word, one concept, one story at a time.”

11 episodes explore the meaning behind the words; “discovery”, “reserve”, “school”, “family names”, “Indian time”, “savage”, “Pocahontas”, “bannock”, “obey”, “God”, and “reconciliation”. 

Listen to it here:

Unlocking the Indigenous toolkit for breaking free from colonialism

“In the second part of this series, titled The Colonial Toolkit, we look at those countering the playbook. What does a world without colonialism look like? How do we even get there?

We examine some of the tactics Indigenous peoples are using to envision a post-colonial existence.”

View or read it here:

January 19, 2022

This week we are learning about some existing, empowering resources available to Indigenous land use managers and their communities. First we dive into GIS data mapping technology with Shared Value Solutions, who demonstrate the fascinating storytelling and technical capabilities possible from depicting datapoints across a landscape. Next, we take a trip to the Great Bear Rainforest to explore what happens when colonial policy is centred on work led by or in collaboration with—and within the territories of— First Nations. This case study, which focuses on efforts from the Haíɫzaqv, Kitasoo/Xai’xais, Nuxalk, and Wuikinuxv First Nations, uses a real-world scenario to offer insights and models for Indigenous and non-Indigenous organizations working in collaboration.  

Harnessing the Power of Maps: A GIS Intro Guide and Ideas Bundle for Indigenous Nations | Shared Value Solutions

This recently-launched e-book is a primer on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology and the many ways data mapping can be leveraged to support Indigenous land use management. Employing real-world case studies from several First Nations within Ontario, the team at Shared Value Solutions uses accessible language to explain what GIS is, how to set it up, and the ways it can be used to apply Indigenous knowledge to the land and resource planning process.

Access the book for free here:

Decolonial Model of Environmental Management and Conservation: Insights from Indigenous-led Grizzly Bear Stewardship in the Great Bear Rainforest | Ethics, Policy & Environment

In this article, ‘Decolonial Model of Environmental Management and Conservation’ is described as an alternative paradigm to dominant approaches of conservation and management. The tenets of the model describe characteristics that might be expected of decolonized management, contrasted with those of dominant state-led approaches such as those embedded in the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. The model does not prescribe how Indigenous governments or communities ought to govern their own territories, but instead offers insights into how external management and conservation agencies and practitioners might support (or stop impeding) Indigenous-led governance. 

Access it here:

January 12, 2022

If you attended our webinar Anti-Indigenous Racism in Planning, or participated in just about any conversation about working with Indigenous communities, you will have heard the importance of relationships emphasized. You may be wondering why the word ‘relationships’ is used constantly when discussing the environment, treaties, law, governance, wellbeing, and just about any other subject. This week’s recommended resources aim to help viewers/readers understand the systems of thought that are anchored in relationships.

Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba Speakers Series, “Agowiidiwinan” (Treaties), Moving Forward Together”: Kinship Across Worlds with Aaron Mills 

In this session, Aaron walks us through his understanding of Anishinaabe law, kindship systems, Indigenous-crown relationships, and why “I am my relationships”.

View it here:

Speaking for Ourselves, Environmental Justice in Canada (Book) Chapter 1- Honouring Our Relations: An Anishnaabe Perspective on Environmental Justice | Deborah McGregor 

In this chapter, Professor McGregor explores how the concept of “all our relations” and Indigenous knowledge expands the notion of environmental justice, bringing it beyond the conventional discourse. She touches on Anishnaabe Creation and Re-Creation stories, natural law, and the persistent environmental justice issue of access to safe water for First Nations.

Read it here:

January 5, 2022

This week we explore some of the ongoing challenges in treaty education and understanding. If you haven’t listened to the weekly Indigenous current affairs podcast Media Indigena, the below episode is a good place to start. This discussion revolves around the ongoing misinformation and confusion around treaties, including treaties as primarily mechanisms for establishing relationships or for land cessation, and the how the use of English introduced concepts into these documents that didn’t necessarily exist in Indigenous cultures. Below, we have also linked our primer on treaties and treaty rights, as well information on Aboriginal rights published by UBC’s Indigenous Foundations.

Media Indigena: Trust, Truth, and Treaties (ep 276)

On this week’s Indigenous round table: the gulf in understanding between settlers and First Nations people over treaties. A gap recently reinforced by none other than CBC Kids, the junior wing of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, after it hosted a ‘debate’ about whether Indigenous peoples should even get land back. A debate it grounded in the myth that treaties were all about First Nations losing their lands and rights.

Listen to it here:

A Backgrounder on Treaties and Treaty Rights

Indigenous Foundations: Aboriginal Rights

December 15, 2021

This week’s recommended content advocates for strategies that go beyond bare-minimum processes associated with the Duty to Consult and Accommodate triggered by projects concerning Indigenous peoples, by taking an earnest interest in exploring nations’ world views, histories, wants and needs.  As our recent collaborator, Bob Goulais, writes in the article linked below, “Collaboration requires co-development of the relationship process itself, and all stops along the way. From initial outreach and planning, through to the milestone celebrations – all these steps need to involve Indigenous peoples.”

Missisakis : On The Indigenous History Of The Tkaronto Islands | Bawaadan Collective

Moving beyond land acknowledgements, Missisakis explores the history and significance of the Toronto Islands from a Mississauga perspective. As with any short film, we present an introduction to history that spans centuries. We encourage viewers to continue to explore this history, learn from Indigenous historians who can share this history, and attend to their calls to action.

View it here: 

Collaboration is key to Indigenous Relationships

While some in the planning field are still grappling to understand where the Duty to Consult and Accommodate fits in, others see it as a paltry minimum requirement needed to build positive working relationships between First Nations and municipalities. In this blog entry Bob Goulais, an Anishinaabe consultant from Nipissing First Nation, writes about the importance of nurturing these relationships and his sources of optimism for the future of planning. 

Read more here:

December 8, 2021

This week, we encourage our readership to consider the pattern of rights-based disputes between Indigenous people and settler governments that have led to the  Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, the Ipperwash Inquiry, and most recently, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. These inquiries and reports do not seem to have influenced the behavior of provincial and federal governments in dealing with land disputes, as evidenced by the current stand off in Wet’suwet’en territory. As pointed out by Melinda Meng in her article linked below “Canada sadly cannot return to the past and fix its mistakes, but what the government can do is learn from history and leave a legacy future generations will be proud to uphold. The alternative is facing a major crisis every few decades and apologizing afterwards, a pattern that will take meaningful change to break.”

The Wet’suwet’en, Aboriginal Title, and the Rule of Law: An Explainer
Ipperwash Crisis
Ipperwash Summer Series: Treaty Commission a frustrating venture Blockades: The Legacy of the Oka Crisis

December 1, 2021

Treaty Relations, Planning & Indigenous Consultation at the City of Toronto | EUC Seminar Series, Polishing the Chain: Treaty Relations in Toronto

“Treaties, the Crown’s Duty to Consult, and Ontario’s Provincial Planning Policy Statement have triggered new practices of Indigenous consultation and urban planning in Toronto. To what extent does city planning include Indigenous nations and communities? To what extent do Indigenous peoples have meaningful authority or decision-making power in relation to Land and Waters? To what extent does the City recognize and enable their ability to practice ceremony, plant and harvest food and medicines, or enact stewardship responsibilities?”

This recorded seminar is the third of six in the EUC Seminar Series, Polishing the Chain: Treaty Relations in Toronto over the 2021-2022 academic school year.  This discussion features three friends of Shared Path: Selina Young, Indigenous Affairs Office for the City of Toronto; Leela Viswanathan, Queen’s University & Viswali Consulting; and Bob Goulais, Nbisiing Consulting.

View it here: 

November 24, 2021

This week, we recommend that you get to know a few conservation efforts happening in southern Ontario. You are probably already familiar with the Greenbelt, but do you know this history of how it formed 12,000 years ago and that protection efforts began as early as the 1940s? Read the Narwhal’s Explainer for these and other details. The Rice Lake Plains is a tallgrass prairie and oak savannah ecosystem within the Oak Ridges Moraine area. A unique partnership emerged in 2002, a collaborative collection of private landowners, Alderville First Nation, conservation groups and governments banded together to protect and restore the Rice Lake Plains. Learn more about the efforts of the Rice Lake Plains Partnership by visiting their website or the property itself.

Explainer: Everything you need to know about the endangered species, waterways and farmland in southern Ontario’s Greenbelt | The Narwhal

“Around the world, Ontario’s Greenbelt has been hailed as a conservation success story, guarding against urban sprawl. the protected space- taking up two million acres of forests and farmland- encompasses an area larger than Prince Edward Island, ringing around the Greater Toronto area and Niagara Peninsula. More than nine million people live within 20 kilometers of it.

But nearly two decades after its creation, loopholes in the laws protecting the land mean the Greenbelt is still under pressure from the same forces that spurred politicians and activists to safeguard it in the first place.”

Read it here:

Rice Lake Plains Partnership

“The Rice Lake Plains is home to Canada’s easternmost prairie and is now the focus of a multi-partner conservation and stewardship project, known as the Rice Lake Plains Partnership. The partners, collectively known as “the Parties” include Alderville First Nation, the County of Northumberland, Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority, Lower Trent Region Conservation Authority, the Nature Conservancy of Canada, Northumberland Land Trust and Ontario Parks.”

Learn more here:

November 17, 2021

An article published in the Tyee earlier this month (listed below) has prompted us to ask: What has happened with UNDRIP since Bill C-15 passed in June? Was this legislation simply, as described by Ken Coates in the podcast listed below “a promise to make promises” with no budget, no timelines, no actions, and no accountability? When we look to BC, which introduced UNDRIP legislation in 2019, we see that despite this commitment and the landmark 1997 Delgamuukw ruling in the Supreme Court of Canada that confirmed Wet’suwet’en and Gitxsan Rights and Title, the struggle of the Wet’suwet’en against the Coastal GasLink is ongoing. When we check the Government of Canada’s page detailing how the new UNDRIP legislation will be implemented, we don’t find a roadmap or framework. Instead we are presented with references to funding programs (that took place before the legislation), related legislation passed about reducing the number of Indigenous children in care (also passed before the UNDRIP legislation), and descriptions of projects with individual First Nations that “aligns with the rights affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples”. So this week we are encouraging our members to learn about UNDRIP and reflect on what implementing this legislation should actually look like in Canada. How do we get there?

Why Aren’t We Talking about the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? | The Tyee

“There is serious reason to think that many existing federal and provincial laws are not consistent with the declaration’s requirements. The B.C. and federal governments are now required by law to correct these inconsistencies.

How these governments intend, practically speaking, to live up to this commitment is unclear. The B.C. government has announced plans to create a secretariat to ensure that new laws and policies are consistent with the declaration. But no plan for reviewing and revising existing laws has yet been published.

Nor is there much movement federally. One federal government website titled “Why Implement the Declaration?” blithely observes that fully implementing the declaration is “generational work” — a statement that suggests federal officials are in no great hurry.”

Wet’suwet’en land defenders say B.C., federal inaction prompted enforcement of Coastal GasLink eviction | The Toronto Star

“It has this requirement to make all B.C. laws consistent with UNDRIP but the last two years has seen very little substantive progress on any key issue… Meanwhile, and at the same time, the pressures for every government in Canada, including Indigenous governments, to try and rebuild or maintain their economies, has been going on. That’s provided this ability for the B.C. government to sort of de-prioritize implementing [the act].”

UNDRIP Bill Fails to Address Indigenous Issues – Pod Bless Canada EP. 64 | Ken Coates

MLI Munk Senior Fellow Ken Coates is joined by MLI Senior Fellow Chris Sankey and MLI Policy Analyst and Outreach Coordinator Melissa Mbarki to discuss the proposed federal legislation. They delve into how the legislation fails to address Indigenous issues in Canada, and fails to live up to the stated principles of UNDRIP. They go on to propose viable solutions for Canada to move forward in Indigenous reconciliation.

Manufacturing Free, Prior and Informed Consent: A Brief History of Canada vs. UNDRIP | The Yellowhead Institute

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November 10, 2021

This week we are following potentially-precedent setting action at the Supreme Court of Canada and listening to young planners’ perspectives on ways to work in community in a good way, with care for others and for yourself.  

Advance Costs and Indigenous Rights at the Supreme Court | Kate Gunn

In what circumstances should governments provide funding for claims involving the Crown’s constitutional obligations to Indigenous Peoples? Beaver Lake Cree Nation is currently pushing the issue at the Supreme Court of Canada, in its pursuit of an appeal on a decision regarding whether the Crown must pay a portion of its legal costs in advance of its landmark treaty infringement case. First Peoples Law LLP represented the Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta as intervenors in the case and in this post, partner Kate Gunn breaks down their submissions.   

To read this article, visit:

Land(ing) Back  

This new podcast is a five-part audio blog series presented in collaboration with Youth Climate Lab and 4Rs Youth Movement. The pilot episode features a conversation with Kyla Pascal, a Black Metis woman born and raised in Amiskwaciwâskahikan ᐊᒥᐢᑲᐧᒋᐋᐧᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (Edmonton, Alberta); a member of the Indigenous art collective nipahimiw; and a second-year Master’s candidate at UBC, currently working at Alderhill Planning Inc.

In this episode, Kyla shares about her entry point into climate work through food and land justice work, and how climate spaces need to be actively integrating care work. Kyla reminds us of the importance of finding the balance between our community work and our personal wellbeing by setting boundaries.

Listen here:

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November 3, 2021

Working in land use planning requires a nimble mind that can juggle policy, legislation, regulation, and the practicalities of real life. This Treaties Recognition Week, we are asking folks working in land use planning and related fields to add another layer to their learning. What are treaties? How have they been used in Canada, and who has benefited? In what ways have they impacted how land use decisions are made, and could this change in the future?

Ontario is covered by 46 treaties signed between 1781 and 1930, however, some Indigenous nations have not signed onto treaties and consider their land to be unceded. Others attest that treaties have not been adhered to in good faith and are seeking corrections through land claims, court settlements, modern agreements, and activism. Many communities are holding events to help Ontario residents learn about treaties in their region, and we will be sharing resources on our social media accounts. We challenge our members to get out, connect, and learn!

A Backgrounder on Treaties and Treaty Rights (a Shared Path Resource)

Government of Ontario Treaties Recognition Week Events

Queen’s University and Treaty 9 

Western University: Treat(ies) Yourself: Post Treaties Recognition Week Circle

Robinson Huron Waawiindamaagewin Treaty Week Resources

Heritage Mississauga: Treaties Recognition Week

North Bay Events at Lakehead

Anishinabek Education Resources

Anishinabek Videos and Treaty Document

Polishing the Chain: Treaty Relations in Toronto 

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October 27, 2021

In anticipation of Treaties Recognition Week (November 1 – 5), we are recommending two resources published by Anishinabek News in which Dr. David Shanahan discusses some of the complicated treaty history in southwestern Ontario.

The Treaty of Niagara and the Belt of the Covenant Chain
Between the Lakes Treaty | Dr. David Shanahan

Following the Royal Proclamation of 1763  Superintendent of Indian Affairs William Johnson  invited at least 24 Nations to Niagara to discuss the need for the restoration of peace, and especially of trade, as the preliminary to a new relationship between Britain and the nations. Many wampum belts were exchanged and it was undoubtedly one of the greatest and most representative gatherings of the First Nations that had been seen. 

To read this article, visit:

Between the Lakes Treaty | Dr. David Shanahan

Following the American Revolution, the Between the Lakes Treaty was negotiated in 1782 with the Mississaugas, in part to help resettle those who had sided with Britain during the conflict. Among those who moved into the region were two Six Nations groups. Further negotiations were made that resulted in Joseph Brant’s Six Nations securing a land tract along the Grand River, however the Crown was the real beneficiary of these agreements, taking 3 million acres of land.

To read this article, visit:

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October 20, 2021

This week, we are reading about Indigenous approaches to archaeology. While the field has helped us attempt to understand the lives of previous generations, it has also been critiqued for its tendency to operate without much input from Indigenous peoples on how to interpret and handle artefacts and remains. This week’s recommended items show how Indigenous archaeologists are taking on the industry and reshaping it with their own perspectives. 

The Indigenous Archaeologist Tracking Down the Missing Residential Children

This article follows the work of Métis archaeologist Kisha Supernant as she uses radar technology to search for  the remains of Indigenous youth buried on the grounds of residential schools, while simultaneously pushing to make the field more inclusive of Indigenous world-views. 

Read it here: 

Digging for ‘lost heritage’: Why it’s important to Indigenous youth

Youth from Pikwákanagán and Kitigan Zibi Algonquin communities are currently attending the Indigenous Archaeological Field School, a new initiative launched by Public Services and Procurement Canada that allows youth to connect with their cultural histories first hand. 

Read and watch here:

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October 13, 2021

This week, we are recommending resources that compare and contrast Indigenous and Western world views, ways of being and ways of knowing. We hope that by presenting different ways of seeing and being in the world we will be able to shine light on and challenge some of the assumptions we hold that prevent us from imagining better futures.

owards Braiding | Elwood Jimmy and Vanessa Andreotti with Sharon Stein 

Following the failure of one organization efforts to “Indigenize”, this text examines the different ways of knowing and being that underlie setter-Indigenous relations and how working at the edge-interface of these ways of knowing and being can lead to improved relationships and wiser futures.

Read it here:

Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science | Dr. Leroy Little Bear

In this talk, Indigenous academic Leroy Little Bear compares the foundational base of Blackfoot knowledge to quantum physics as part of the Indigenous Knowledge and Western Science: Contrasts and Similarities event.

View it here: 

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October 6, 2021

This week we are continuing to recommend resources to learn about the grim realities of residential schools in so called Canada and how municipalities can respond to the calls to action put forth by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Reflections on Truth and Reconciliation with Honourable Murray Sinclair

The story of residential schools in Canada told by the Honourable Murray Sinclair who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. We caution that he recounts the experiences he heard from survivors with details that are sometimes disturbing and may be not be suitable for all viewers.

View it here:

A Municipal Guide to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action

Prepared by the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) , this guide briefly lists the TRC’s calls to action relevant to municipalities and suggests how one might go about implementing them. It also provides further examples of how municipalities in Alberta are responding to the calls to action.

Read it here: –

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September 22, 2021

This week, we are recommending resources to help municipalities put reconciliation into action. Perhaps the strongest example of policy by a large municipal government to build better relations with Indigenous communities is that of the City of Calgary. Another great example of relationship-building is the Treaty 20- Greater Peterborough Area Friendship Accord, which was facilitated through the Community Economic Development Initiative (CEDI) program. A CEDI toolkit for guiding Indigenous-municipal relationship building was created based on the experiences of participants in the program and is publicly available. Finally, another good resource for municipalities hoping to build better relationships is the toolkit produced by the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities. 

The City of Calgary’s Indigenous Policy and Indigenous Policy Framework

“The Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee (CAUAC), on behalf of City Council, investigates areas of concern to people of Aboriginal ancestry and makes recommendations on policies and resolutions that would give urban Aboriginal people a more meaningful role within the Calgary community.

After consultations with Treaty 7 traditional knowledge keepers, urban indigenous people and City stakeholders, CAUAC proposed the Indigenous Policy and Indigenous Policy Framework. Together, they recommend and guide meaningful long-term efforts to bring indigenous identities, histories, cultures, languages, traditions, principles, world views, relationships and ways of knowing into municipal planning, advising and decision-making efforts. City Council approved the policy and framework in April 2017.”

View and download this policy framework and policy here:

Treaty 20–Greater Peterborough Area

In November 2019, two First Nations, two townships, a regional government, and an economic development corporation came together to sign  the Ezhi-Wiijikiwendiyang (Friendship Accord) in the Treaty 20- Greater Peterborough Area. This partnership has taken a regional approach to First Nation-municipal collaboration.

Learn more about their areas of collaboration and accomplishments here:

To download the Stronger Together: A Toolkit for First Nations-Municipal Community Economic Development Partnerships used to steer this partnership visit:

Reconciliation with indigenous Peoples- A Holistic Approach: toolkit for Inclusive Municipalities in Canada and Beyond

This toolkit includes an overview of the issues, courses of action and examples of good practices from Canadian municipalities that are members of the Coalition of Inclusive Municipalities. It was developed by CCUNESCO in partnership with UNESCO’s International Coalition of Inclusive and Sustainable Cities.

Read it here:

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September 15, 2021

This week we are recommending a free course offered by the University of Toronto that has plenty of content to keep you busy. We would like to note, however, that despite the title of the course, many parts of the land we now call Canada are unceded territory and many Indigenous communities never signed treaties, including some First Nations in Ontario. Please keep this in mind while taking the time to learn about treaties relevant to your location. For different perspectives on treaty making history, check out the video series “In Our Words”, which presents personal narratives of Elders and recognized Knowledge Holders based in what we now refer to as Ontario.

Free Course “We Are All Treaty People” from U of T

Overview: “Treaties are a foundational part of Canadian society. Every road, house, building or business that exists today in a treaty area was made possible because of a treaty. The existence of treaties is proof that the first settlers of what is now Canada respected First Nations as sovereign people and negotiated Nation to Nation. By understanding the colonial history of Canada we can renew our relationships with each other and move towards meaningful reconciliation.”

For more information visit:

“In Our Words” – Understanding Treaties |  First Nations, Métis & Inuit Education Association of Ontario

This video series provides many perspectives through personal narratives of Elders and recognized Knowledge Holders. The videos explore how the dispossession of land from Indigenous Peoples took place throughout what is now called Canada.

Watch the first video here:

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September 8, 2021

This week, the Shared Path team recommends learning about why some Indigenous Nations are signing self-governance agreements to remove their communities from the jurisdiction of the Indian Act and what self-governance can encompass

Indigenous self-government in Yukon holds lessons for all of Canada | Gabrielle A. Slowey

“Since 1993, 11 of Yukon’s 14 First Nations have had land-claims and self-government agreements, accounting for almost half  of such agreements in Canada. These agreements are constitutionally protected modern treaties that outline First Nations’ rights within their traditional territories. They describe how the federal, territorial and First Nations governments interact with each other and define First Nations ownership of and decision-making powers on settlement land – addressing everything from fish and wildlife to education.”

Read the article here:

For the full paper Indigenous Self-Government in Yukon: Looking for Ways to Pass the Torch visit

Learn about the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement

“The proposed Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement is an agreement between the Anishinabek Nation, on behalf of its member First Nations and Canada that would recognize the authority of the First Nations and the Anishinabek Nation to pass laws in the areas of elections, citizenship, language and culture, and government management.”

For answers to frequently asked questions, visit

To read Mary Laronde’s take on what the Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement is and isn’t about, visit

To learn more about Anishinaabe governance see Laronde’s article here:

This Post Was Published On January 26, 2022. Last Updated August 2, 2022

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