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Panel Two: Existing Indigenous protocols and models of exercising FPIC


09 June 2015

7472 ḵing gan

This panel gives examples of FPIC in the Indigenous Peoples’ exercise of their own jurisdictions, both under customary Indigenous laws and traditions, and through recently developed FPIC and engagement protocols.

Moderated by William David, this panel features Anne Marie Sam, Chief Roger William, Chief Dean Sayers, Andrew Chapeskie, and John Cutfeet.

Click here for Anne Marie and Andrew's full powerpoints.

Anne Marie Sam:

Anne Marie Sam was raised in the Lusilyoo (frog) clan and is now a member of the Lhts'umusyoo (Beaver) clan from the Nak’azdli First Nation, Fort St James, located in North Central British Columbia.

After becoming the first in her family to complete a university degree program in history, Anne Marie returned home to Dakelh territory located in North Central British Columbia. She has been working on Indigenous traditional knowledge, land rights and environmental protection issues since she graduated from the University of Northern British Columbia in 1996.

Anne Marie has been raised with a strong connection to Dakelh traditions and culture. She is committed to developing policies that ensure Dakelh connection to the land and water is not pushed aside as resource development increases in the Nak’azdli territory. A large part of her work has been to inform government and industry of the importance of the land, water and wildlife to the identity of the Nak’azdli people.

In 2006 a mining company informed the Nak’azdli community that they were interested in proposing a mine development close to a Mountain known as Shus Nadloh, within the Nak’azdli Territory.This mine was being proposed in her family’s Keyoh (traditional lands that a clan or family have responsibility for, where for generations they have hunted, fished, collected medicinal plants and occupied). As a mother of three she had a responsibility to get informed about the proposed mine development, and how this development will impact her children and future generations.

Today the community of Nak’azdli has been impacted by the construction of the new Mount Milligan Project. Nak’azdli has serious concerns about the environmental and social impacts they are now experiencing and have taken it upon themselves to conduct environmental monitoring, and have developed a research project that is collecting data regarding the social and health impacts the new mine is having on their local community.

Currently Anne Marie is an Elected Councillor for the Community of Nak'azdli, an advisor with the Aboriginal Leadership Initiative, a board member of Mining Watch Canada, a member of First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining (FNWARM) and a MASc Candidate, Norman B. Keevil Institute of Mining Engineering at the University of British Columbia.

Chief Roger William:

Chief of Xeni Gwet’in First Nation and Vice Chairman of Tsilhqot’in National Government.

Chief Roger William has been the Chief of Xeni Gwet’in First Nation for 20 years and was a council member for 5 years. From 2011 to 2015 he has also acted as the Area J Director for the Cariboo regional District. Being born and raised in the Nemiah Valley by his mother Eileen Sammy William, Chief Roger William holds Tsilhqot’in history, culture and traditions close.

Chief Roger William is more recently known as the Plaintiff in the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision, granting full Aboriginal Title to the Tsilhqot’in Nation in his traditional territory.

He has been the Vice Chairman of the Tsilhqot’in National Government for the last year. Chief William strives for sustainable economic development that is sensitive to Aboriginal Rights and Title, the environment, and culture of the Tsilhqot’in. Chief Roger William is married and the proud father of four children.


Chief Dean Sayers:

Dean Sayers has been Chief of Batchewana since 2005, now serving his 6th two year term. During this time Batchewana First Nation (BFN) has seen astronomical growth.

Chief Dean Sayers grew up in Batchewana village, a small community approximately 50 miles north of Sault Ste. Marie, where he worked with his father and brother in the First Nation’s Commercial Fishing industry. This experience provided education on the traditional understandings of the history of Batchewana, it’s affiliation with Lake Superior and the reserved jurisdiction of the area.

Chief Sayers moved on in pursuit of higher education and work experience spending 13 years in Southern Ontario in various human service roles with First Nations Peoples. He then returned home to take on various leadership roles and eventually the role as Chief.
It was through a culmination of experiences and understanding of Batchewana’s history which led Chief Sayers and various council’s to the formulation of BFN’s “Letter of Assertion”, a document outlining Batchewana’s expected relationship with resource developers in the original lands set a side for Batchewana’s sole benefit and use as per the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850. This assertion has been instrumental to maintaining the First Nations sovereignty, jurisdiction and contributes immensely to Batchewana’s success today.

Chief Sayers’ post secondary education and more importantly historical understanding of Batchewana and its people have been instrumental to the First Nation’s success.

Chief Sayers and the Batchewana First Nation has led the charge in demanding Indigenous People’s fair share of resource revenues. Resource developers are eager to work with Batchewana First Nation on a wide array of resource extraction initiatives from permitting to data collection and renewable energy projects.

Andrew Chapeskie: 

Andrew J. Chapeskie B.Mus., LL.B., M.A. (Int. Aff. (Ec. Dev.)), LL.M. is senior advisor to the Whitefeather Forest Initiative of Pikangikum First Nation. He has thirty years of extensive advisory and legal counsel experience related to Indigenous Peoples, natural resources management and customary law and stewardship, and Indigenous enterprise initiatives - primarily in boreal regions of northern Canada. He has also carried out research and published on a variety of resource management issues including for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples and the United Nations Environment Programme.

John Cutfeet: 

John Cutfeet works with Wildlands League as its Aboriginal Watershed Program Coordinator or Anishinini’ow Niipii’ow Anokiinakun in Oji Cree. John's focus is to be a resource to communities in Ontario's Far North on watershed protection and on resource proposals that may impact those watersheds. John is collaborating with the communities and tribal councils of four major rivers in the Far North of Ontario: Albany, Winisk, Attawapiskat and Severn including tributaries of Fawn and Pipestone.

He provides assistance to First Nations communities by: increasing the awareness of watersheds and the need for proactive planning to protect them; visiting local communities including meeting with Elders; facilitating the inclusion of local and traditional knowledge into discussions; and by responding to requests for information, advice and assistance from communities.

John does not oppose or support individual resource development projects. Instead, he provides communities with the best available information so that they can make the best informed decisions. John is fluent in both English and Cree.

Moderated by William David: 

William David, B.A., LL.B., is currently Senior Advisor, Implementing Rights Unit, with the Assembly of First Nations and is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Rights Centre. William David has extensive experience working with Indigenous Peoples at the community, national and international levels. William is from Akwesasne, and is licensed to practice law in the courts of New York, Ontario and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe.

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Ḵwaan sda: FPIC Forum