Helping Indigenous communities manage the rights to their land
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Indigenous communities located away from Canada’s most populous centres are struggling to exercise their rights in relation to logging and mining developments on their traditional territories.

Terry Mitchell, a community psychology professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, is leading a research team exploring what it will mean for Indigenous peoples, the  federal, provincial and territorial governments, and industry to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), with a focus on the right to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).

Mitchell and her research team have created a “one-stop shop” resource for Indigenous communities, leaders and academics to access information about FPIC through an online library of resources. The website will be maintained by Six Nations Polytechnic, a postsecondary institution located on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory.

“Generally, Indigenous communities are not provided sufficient time or resources to review mining or logging proposals and many don’t know what their rights are according to UNDRIP,” says Mitchell. “This website will try to ensure the information gets to the communities, as we in turn ask them what free, prior and informed consent means to them.”

“Implementing (the declaration) has implications for Waterloo Region and Brantford, as it does for all of Canada. We’ve seen an increase in the use of a land acknowledgement at Laurier and elsewhere in the region, but it needs to be more than that.”
Terry Mitchell
Psychology professor at Wilfrid Laurier University
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