Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

Lesson 8 - Sovereign Lands

 

Term

 

Definition

Aboriginal Title
Aboriginal title refers to the right that Indigenous peoples have to land, as opposed to mere privileges to certain practices, such as hunting and fishing. Canadian law has recognized Aboriginal title as a unique right held by constitutionally recognized Aboriginal peoples over the use and jurisdiction over specific parcels of land.
Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act
The first modern land claims agreement in North America (1971). The Agreement granted title to the lands used by Alaska Natives, and the United States government agreed to pay them for the remaining lands in the form of investing in economic development corporations for regions and villages.
Bitumen
Bitumen is a composition of oil and sand, and is much more difficult to process than conventional "crude oil." Bitumen is often referred to as "tar sand" or "oil sand." Advances in bitumen processing techniques has had major social and environmental impacts on Indigenous peoples who live near the tar sands projects around Fort McMurray, Alberta. 
Canadian Pacific Railway
Begun in 1881 and finished in 1885, the Canadian Pacific Railway is a railroad that traverses southern Canada from the Atlantic to Pacific oceans. The Railway contributed to the building of new settlements in Western Canada and the displacement of Indigenous peoples in those areas.
"Country food"
Refers to traditional/wild foods such as fish, moose, and caribou. Access to country food has become increasingly difficult as the costs associated with harvesting (gas, ammunition, etc.) have increased, and traditional hunting knowledge has been interrupted. In addition, there are increasing concerns about the level of contaminents being found in meat and fish.
Delgamuukw Case
The "Delgamuukw Case" or Delgamuukw v British Columbia (1997) asserted that Aboriginal title is a communal right based in Aboriginal peoples' culture relationship to the land, and that Aboriginal histories must be given due consideration as evidence in Canadian courts.
Dene chan’ie
This is a broad concept that includes many aspects of Dene life and worldview, some of which cannot be translated into English. It describes the Dene way of life or community wellbeing or living a good life, and refers to the complex interrelationship between the people and the land. This relationship also includes animals, plants, and the spirits of the ancestors, and represents living life according to the natural laws. These are Dene laws on Dene land.
Denendeh
Denendeh, meaning, “The Land of the People” refers to the homeland of the Dene Nation. Denendeh covers a wide geographical area of central and northwestern Canada throughout the Mackenzie Delta, west into Alaska, east into Nunavut and south into the prairies. More commonaly, however, Denendeh is used to refer to the Northwest Territories. (Reference)
Denésƍliné The Dene people. (Reference)
Fiduciary duty
Fiduciary duty is the responsibility that the government has to act in the best interest and in a trust-like relationship with Indigenous peoples. Future Aboriginal rights cases and the protection of Aboriginal rights have been subsequently influenced by the concept of fiduciary duty as set out in Guerin case.
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and the National Marine Conservation Area is a park in Haida Gwaii in northwestern British Columbia. It was created by the first cooperative management agreement between a First Nation and the Government of Canada to establish and manage a nationally protected area. (Reference)
Harvaqtuurmiut
An Inuktitut term referring to people who live near the Harvaqtuuq (Kazan) River. Inuit use the suffix “–muit” after the name of the land they belong to which describes them as a “person from this land called ______”.
Infringement
Infringement refers to the government impacting Aboriginal peoples' constitutionally protected rights. Violating constitutional rights is not a light matter and the government must prove that it is absolutely necessary. The Sparrow Test includes the criteria for both proving an Aboriginal right and justifying an infringement.
Inuusiq
An Inuktitut word meaning "life cycle."
National Marine Conservation Area
The National Marine Conservation Area in Haida Gwaii was the first cooperative management agreement between a First Nation and the Government of Canada to establish and manage a nationally protected area.
Nisga’a
The Nisga'a are a First Nation in British Columbia and the original inhabitants of the Nass River valley. Signatories of the Nisga'a Final Treaty Agreement, the Nisga'a are no longer under the jurisdiction of the Indian Act. 
Nisga’a Final Treaty Agreement
The Nisga'a Final Treaty Agreement (1998) represents a final statement on the title and rights of the Nisga'a of the Nass River valley in British Columbia. The Nisga'a have transitioned out of the Indian Act, dissolved their reserves, govern using a municipal-style government structure, and have surface and sub-surface resource rights as well as resource and financial transfer rights.
Nunatsiavut
Nunatsiavut is the Inuttut word for "our beautiful land" and is the geographical name of the autonomous lands controlled by the Inuit of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. (Reference)
Nunavik
Nunavik is Inuktitut word for "place to live" and is the geographical region comprising northern Quebec. (Reference)
Nunavut Act
The Nunavut Act (1993) created the territory of Nunavut (which means "Our Land" in Inuktitut), which is intended to be a territory for the Inuit. It is the largest province or territory in Canada.
Nunavut Land Claims Agreement
This 1993 land claims agreement provided new rights to the Inuit in exchange for their Aboriginal title. It established legal entities to manage communal monies and land, including the $1.14 billion in settlement compensation, overseen by the Nunavut Trust. The Nunuvut Tunngavik Inc. Corporation defends the rights of the Inuit, ensures the fulfilment of the Agreement, and holds all Inuit-owned land. In addition, the Inuit receive royalities from all resource development on Crown lands.
Subsistence lifestyle
Refers to obtaining what is needed for basic subsistence (ie: food, clothing, etc.) from the land. For Indigenous peoples, this often means hunting and processing wild game for meat and hides, gathering plants for medicines and food, etc. 
Thaidene Nene
Thaidene Nene , or the Land of the Ancestors is a proposed national park located on the traditional territory of the Denesoline community of Lutsel K’e. (Reference)
The "Calder Case"
The "Calder Case" or or Calder v. Attorney-General of British Columbia (1973), was a legal action launched against the province in 1967 by Frank Calder and Nisga'a Elders. The Nisaga'.
The Sparrow Case
The "Sparrow Case" or R v. Sparrow (1990), was a precedent-setting court ruling by the Supreme Court of Canada. It determined the criteria for proving the existence of an Aboriginal right and whether or not government infringement of Aboriginal rights was justifiable. As a result of the court case, a set of judgements were made regarding Aboriginal rights, and have come to be known as the "Sparrow Test." Although, the test might acknowledge an Aboriginal right, it can make justification for infringing on said right. (Reference)
Time immemorial
Time immemorial is an English legal phrase used to express that notion that something is "ancient beyond memory or record." In the context of Aboriginal law in Canada, it has been used to describe the legal basis for Aboriginal rights. (Reference)
Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) Traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) is generally described as the collective knowing of an Indigenous peoples regarding sustainability of local resources. (Reference)
Traditional Land Use (TLU) Traditional land use studies document an Indigenous peoples traditional knowldge. Through recording interviews with Elders and other knowledge keepers such as hunters, TLU studies mark out geographical areas of significance for an Indigenous people. TEK and TK help to inform TLU studies by providing information that is key in perserving Indigenous peoples way of life. (Reference)
Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia In the "Tsilhqot'in Case" or Tsilhqot'in v British Columbia (2014), the Supreme Court of Canada declared that the Tsilhqot'in had title to an area of land approximately 1600 square kilometers. The declaration, the first of its kind in Canada, comprised 40% of the area claimed by the Tsilhqot'in in that case. Achieving the first declaration of Aboriginal title and at the same time, having 60% of its claim rejected serves to illustrate both the potential and the significant risks involved for First Nations people in pursuing rights through Canadian law.
Van der Peet Case
The "Van der Peet Case" or R v. Van der Peet (1996), establishes a legal test to identify the nature of an Aboriginal right. The court will first identify the right, then the Aboriginal party must prove that the right is "integral" to their culture, and finally prove continuity between the right being claimed and the pre-Contact practice on which it is based.