Indigenous Peoples and the Environment – Mr. Ovide Mercredi (33:44)

10:45 – 12:00  Indigenous Peoples and the Environment


  • Mr. Ovide Mercredi, Senior Advisor, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB


  • Professor Jamie Baxter, Assistant Professor, Schulich School of Law, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS
  • Mr. Caleb Behn, Lawyer, President and Executive Director, Keepers of the Water, Victoria, BC

In Osoyoos Indian Band v. Oliver (Town) [2001] 3 S.C.R. 746, Iacobucci J. for the Court wrote: “an aboriginal interest in land is more than just a fungible commodity. The aboriginal interest in land will generally have an important cultural component that reflects the relationship between an aboriginal community and the land and the inherent and unique value in the land itself which is enjoyed by the community. This view flows from the fact that the legal justification for the inalienability of aboriginal interests in land is partly a function of the common law principle that settlers in colonies must derive their title from Crown grant, and partly a function of the general policy “to ensure that Indians are not dispossessed of their entitlements” Delgamuukw v. British Columbia (Supreme Court of Canada) [1997] 3 SCR 1010, at paras. 129-31.

This session will explain what these words mean in a cultural context. For traditional people everything is about the land; their laws come from this, they are all kept alive by it; it sustains them. Speakers will explore issues of Aboriginal title and rights, and examine the implications for economic development in Indigenous communities. It will also include an examination of the relationship of Indigenous people and the land, and consider issues concerning the stewardship of the environment.