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aboriginal law

RELAW Project: Summer in review

19 September, 2016

Over the summer, the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water (RELAW) team has been busy working with stories, and travelling to visit with participating Nations about Indigenous laws. The six participating First Nations are looking at creating water policies, marine use plans, environmental codes of ethics, consent regimes, and environmental assessment practices all rooted in their own laws.

This presentation by Articled Student Lindsay Borrows summarizes in photos and stories some of the lessons and activities to date in revitalizing Indigenous laws through the RELAW Project.

 

 

Over the summer, the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water (RELAW) team has been busy working with stories, and travelling to visit with participating Nations about Indigenous laws.

Field notes from the Haida Gwaii Potlatch: Why government and industry should take heed of Indigenous governance decisions

14 September, 2016

I was honoured to have been invited to witness this historic potlatch, Raven Always Sets Things Right, hosted by the Yahgulaanaas/Janaas Raven Clan of Haida Gwaii. I visited Haida Gwaii for the first time just last year, and it left an indelible mark as a very special part of the world, as it does for most who are lucky enough to visit, so I was happy to return.

The potlatch was significant for a number of reasons. The primary work was to remove the hereditary chieftainships of two hereditary chiefs. The hereditary chiefs had signed a support letter for Enbridge’s request for a deadline extension on one of the 209 conditions of its approval in June 2014. No one I spoke to could remember hearing about an act as serious as removing a chieftainship before, although the possibility of the removal of a name is part of the chief naming ceremony itself.  The removal of the hereditary chieftainships in this potlatch needs to be understood by industry and governments as a legitimate and powerful response that undermines the commonly used tactic of cherry picking individuals to support their projects and “divide and conquer” communities.

 

Mug shot: One of the gifts from the potlatch – “Raven Always Sets Things Right”

Yo ho wee
Yo ha wee yo wee yah
Hey hi yo
Ha wee ah wee yah wee yah
Hey hi yo ha wee
Ah wee ah-ha
Ah wee-ee ah wee yah

What are we going to do about Site C?

15 August, 2016

As the Site C dam project forges ahead, West Coast's RELAW Project Manager Maxine Matilpi considers difficult questions about the future of the Peace River Valley and the Indigenous communities fighting to preserve their territories.

 

 

It's the end of the day and our shared office is hot and stuffy. My colleague on the RELAW project, Georgia, asks with all seriousness, “What are we going to do about Site C?”

Lessons from a summer at West Coast

12 August, 2016

West Coast Environmental Law Association was lucky to have four talented students join us this summer from law schools across the country. As the season winds down, our summer law students share their reflections on an exciting few months learning about the ins and outs of environmental law.

From left to right: Alex Kirby, Sina Kazemi, Monisha Sebastian and Brianna Meyer.

Catching up with science: Salmon biodiversity and Aboriginal fisheries rights in BC

3 August, 2016

At West Coast Environmental Law, we are passionate about collaboration and integrating science with law. When new, ground-breaking studies are published in the scientific world, it presents a unique opportunity to identify the implications this might have on shaping and influencing laws.

A recent study, “Species and population diversity in Pacific salmon fisheries underpin Indigenous food security” published by SFU researchers Holly Nesbitt and Dr. Jonathan Moore, is a fantastic example.

At West Coast Environmental Law, we are passionate about collaboration and integrating science with law. When new, ground-breaking studies are published in the scientific world, it presents a unique opportunity to identify the implications this might have on shaping and influencing laws.

Kinder Morgan’s Salad Days of Summer

12 July, 2016

The warmth and relative freedom of summer creates an atmosphere of spontaneity and often last-minute plans come together: “Let’s drive to that pow-wow this weekend!” “Who wants to go to the beach for a picnic this afternoon?” “Come to the Vancouver Folk Festival and visit our WCEL table!”

Summer 2016 is no different. For those following the fate of the Kinder Morgan pipeline, there are some spontaneous and brief, summer-camp-inspired public meetings coming up. But the season really started when the Federal Court of Appeal (FCA) released its much anticipated Enbridge Decision on June 30.  Learn more about the process and pledge to attend the Kinder Morgan tar sands pipelines and tankers summer meetings.

Summer lovin', had me a blaaaaaasst!

Summer can be a time of renewal and relaxation. Kids have a break from school. Teachers get a break from kids. Families go on vacation – camping, fishing and swimming in lakes, rivers or oceans. People test their will against the sun (and the sun always wins).

Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water: The Cheakamus Retreat

20 June, 2016

The Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) Project is a new initiative that aims to deepen First Nations’ capacity to engage in the process of revitalizing, applying and enforcing their own laws to contemporary environmental problems and proactive land and resource decision-making. In this post, Articled Student Lindsay Borrows recounts her powerful learning experiences at the recent 5-day RELAW retreat at the Cheakamus Centre in Squamish Nation Territory.

A meandering stream at the Cheakamus Centre (Photo: Alice William)

Reflections on RELAW: The role of stories in law

17 June, 2016

West Coast is excited to launch the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) project in partnership with the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) at the University of Victoria. RELAW is a pilot project with the aim of supporting First Nations in their process of revitalizing, applying and enforcing Indigenous laws in relation to a contemporary aspect of environmental governance. In this post, Staff Counsel Georgia Lloyd-Smith reflects on her experience researching Secwepemc law with ILRU and the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council, to provide insight into the work we will be doing in the RELAW project.

West Coast is excited to launch the Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air, and Water (RELAW) project in partnership with the Indigenous Law Research Unit (ILRU) at the University of Victoria.

Learning from the land: Anishinaabe law camp at Walpole Island First Nation

17 May, 2016

Last month, Staff Counsel Hannah Askew traveled with Anishinaabe scholars John Borrows and Heidi Stark to Walpole Island First Nation in Ontario to assist with, and learn from, a four day Anishinaabe law camp. Hannah recounts the lessons she learned from the camp as well as lessons taught to her by Anishinaabe elders. 

Last month at the invitation of Professor Val Waboose and the Windsor Law Faculty, I traveled with Anishinaabe scholars John Borrows and Heidi Stark to Walpole Island First Nation in Ontario to assist with, and learn from, a four-day Anishinaabe law camp.  The camp was organized in part to fulfil Windsor Law’s commitment to implement Recommendation #28 of the Truth and Reconciliation Report which stat

Field notes from the Treaty 8 Moose Summit

18 April, 2016

In February 2016, West Coast's Hannah Askew attended a Moose Management Summit in Fort St. John, which was held to address Treaty 8 First Nations’ concerns about the state of moose in their territory. The word for moose in Dunne-zah is “Huuda,” which literally translates to “that which keeps us alive.”

In February I attended a Moose Management Summit in Treaty 8 territory at Fort St. John in northeastern BC. The summit was attended by over 100 trappers, hunters, Elders, Chiefs and Councillors, and environmental monitors representing Prophet River, Doig River, Blueberry River, West Moberly, Saulteau, Fort Nelson, and CASCA First Nations. Also present were representatives from the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.

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