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We really need to talk about the proliferation of the “Impact Benefits Agreement” for natural resource extraction in our territories, which, without exception, are predatory, coercive and fundamentally undermine our political, social, cultural and economic development.

In my view, in time, probably sooner than later, these commercial contracts will be similarly viewed as the fraudulent transactions conducted by the Crown in historic treaty negotiations.

They have also instituted a form of underdevelopment that is literally killing people in our communities through predatory lending schemes and contract terms and conditions which relinquish rights, suppress governance, and exploit the poor for cheap labour.

They have also become a convenient proxy for defining the standard of free, prior and informed consent which has to be understood within the broader right of self-determination. This clearly ain’t it for one because the state and not private corporations have to get consent.

The state is supposed to do a bunch of other things too, like recognize and demarcate your collectively held land tenure and ownership of resources on a territorial basis, which is required under both international and Canadian law. The state policy of denial leaves us dependent.

“Experts on IBAs have been warning for years that serious issues can arise when commercial law is used to interpret Aboriginal constitutional rights.” @Shiri Pasternak @Yellowhead Institute…

An unsigned agreement between a Wet’suwet’en First Nation and Coastal GasLink along with financial documents, obtained by Yellowhead Institute, provide reinforcement to Yellowhead's assessment of the...…

Wet'suwet'en: Why are Indigenous rights being defined by an energy corporation? - Yellowhead...

At the same time, there is no safe refuge in Canadian constitutional law or international law either, which both laid the groundwork for the present conditions to exist and persist.

In some respects, the Impact Benefit Agreement is merely part of the international legal and financial practices “that perpetuate severe inequality between the Global North and Global South, which in turn hampers efforts toward global-peace and security.”…

As George Manuel said so long ago, we as Indigenous peoples in the occupied Global North are the “Fourth World”.

We can quibble over the legal definitions of genocide, crimes against humanity, ecocide, etc., but violence, deprivation, and exploitation of Indigenous peoples is the social reality of daily life which has became normalized. No one can “freely” consent in or to such conditions.



Dinjii zhùh. Vuntut Gwitchin. Ch’ichyàa. Living on Gitxsan lax yip. A “radical lawyer” according to one minister of the crown representing his majesty the king.

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