In Canada, First Nations communities are making it clear that they must be afforded control of the resources and knowledge that will allow them to effectively engage in dialogue and networking with the government, private sector, academia, and other stakeholders involved in resource development projects on traditional native lands. First Nations communities are asking for increasing information about Impact and Benefit Agreements, contract negotiations, legal acts and regulations, environmental and social issues, and other significant components of resource development as critical to ensuring the formation of transparent, honest, and mutually beneficial relationships between themselves and outside stakeholders involved in northern resource development initiatives.
The Naskapi Curriculum Project
Since 2007, the Canadian Business Ethics Research Network (CBERN) has cultivated a close working relationship with the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, a First Nations community located near the town of Schefferville, Quebec. The aim of the partnership between CBERN and the Naskapi is to provide band members with the knowledge that they require to sustain a healthy community through better understanding of the benefits of the mining development on their lands, while also mitigating any negative social, cultural, and economic consequences arising from local resource extraction operations. The Naskapi Curriculum Project was seen as a way to involve the youth of the community in the plans for the future .
Led by York University education professor Dr. Celia Haig-Brown, who has done extensive work with Indigenous communities and schools, the Naskapi Curriculum Project began as an extension of the Knowledge Needs Assessment and Mobilization initiative developed by CBERN Project Director Dr. Wesley Cragg and Research Assistant Peter Siebenmorgen between the spring and summer of 2011. The curriculum builds on their findings related to the community’s expressed needs, while integrating the teachers and community members perspectives into the new program. Under the guidance of Dr. Cragg, CBERN has also collaborated with the Naskapi to create an online electronic library (“e-Library”) which allows the community to access important resources on mining and economic development. An important component of the library is a section on curriculum resources related to land, mining and Indigenous thought for teachers. Each of these pieces is introduced with a clear language summary.
A visual tour of Kawawachikamach