Summary - Recommendations
Full pdf Document
National infrastructure is a framework of laws, regulations, services, and roles
that are used to create programs in fulfilment of rights; rights are guaranteed by
laws, laws define regulations, regulations provide blueprints for services and roles,
and services provide programs. Programs created from an infrastructure framework
respect rights the infrastructure was created to express. Canadian national infrastructure
was created without the recognition of Aboriginal rights to express non-Aboriginal
rights. It is a non-Aboriginal infrastructure framework incapable of respecting Aboriginal
rights in its current state.
In 1982, the Constitution Act recognized and affirmed Aboriginal and treaty rights.
Since that time a number of important events have occurred involving Aboriginal rights.
- The last Indian Residential School was closed;
- The United Nations passed the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention (1989);
- The Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) was released;
- The Government of Canada signed the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
- The United Nations passed a resolution on the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
- The Truth and Reconciliation Commission began its work in Canada (2008);
- The Prime Minister of Canada apologized for Indian Residential Schools and the policy
of Aboriginal assimilation (2008);
- The release of the United Nations recommendations on the duty to consult (2009);
- A myriad of cases that have been processed by the Canadian judicial system to support
Unfortunately in the 27 years since the Constitution Act recognized and affirmed
Aboriginal rights, nothing has changed for the expression of Aboriginal rights in
Canada. Aboriginal rights have not been included into Canadian national infrastructure.
The Canadian policy of forced Aboriginal assimilation was discontinued in 2008 but
secondary policies, legislation and regulation that provided services and programming
tools for Aboriginal assimilation still exist in Canada’s national infrastructure.
These are now embedded forced assimilation barriers (EFABs) in Canada’s infrastructure
that block the advancement of Aboriginal rights. As a consequence, Canada’s national
infrastructure framework is incapable of recognizing Aboriginal rights unless EFABs
are removed. Canada needs a process that can remove EFABs and include Aboriginal
rights in its national infrastructure. That process must include mechanisms to:
- Accommodate Aboriginal rights;
- Provide a new legal basis for its relationship with Aboriginal Peoples;
- Reconcile Canada with Aboriginal Peoples; and,
- Provide an Aboriginal culture database so that all Canadians can understand and respect
The process Canada needs to reach these four objectives is Meaningful Consultation.
A process for Meaningful Consultation has been described that is able to meet standards
set out in Aboriginal law, Canadian Common Law, and by the United Nations. The process
has four steps:
- Nation Consultation;
- Nation-to-Nation Consultation;
- Harmonization; and,
Canada must accommodate Aboriginal rights in a “reconciled” national infrastructure
framework. To accomplish this, Canada must include Aboriginal law, regulation and
roles into national infrastructure, and, then provide services that allow Aboriginal
roles to be fulfilled. This is accomplished by first harmonizing culture-based Aboriginal
infrastructure with existing non-Aboriginal Canadian infrastructure and then building
parts missing in Aboriginal Nations. To reconcile Aboriginal infrastructure with
non-Aboriginal infrastructure, Canada needs a working definition of culture-based
Most Aboriginal infrastructure was destroyed by Canada’s policy of forced assimilation.
However, a diffuse remnant remains in Aboriginal Nations with a focal point through
Aboriginal Elders. Consultation of Elders and Aboriginal Nations provides the knowledge
and understanding of Aboriginal infrastructure needed to generate a working definition
for culture-based Aboriginal infrastructure. This Nation Consultation process is
the first step in Meaningful Consultation. Canada needs the database created by Nation
Consultation to fulfill all four Meaningful Consultation objectives. But, the objective
to build a database on Aboriginal culture is fully satisfied in the Nation Consultation
The second step in Meaningful Consultation, Nation-to-Nation Consultation, is a communicative
platform between Canada and the Aboriginal Nation. It enables Aboriginal Nations
to provide Canada with detail necessary for Canada to:
- Accommodate Aboriginal rights in national infrastructure;
- Create a new legal basis for roles through which an Aboriginal Nation will express
their rights in a new relationship with Canada; and,
- Reconcile the expression of Aboriginal rights by building infrastructure services
necessary for Aboriginal Nations to function in their new relationship roles.
The Harmonization step removes remnants of the policy of forced assimilation, EFABs,
that block the advancement of Aboriginal rights into a reconciled national infrastructure
framework. After EFABs are removed, the final Restoration step can occur.
Aboriginal law, regulation and roles must be legislatively placed into Canadian infrastructure
and then infrastructure services must be operatively restored into Aboriginal Nations
to complete the Restoration step. The Restoration step produces reconciled national
infrastructure that respects both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal rights.
The policy of forced assimilation left most Aboriginal Nations with shells of their
former institutions. These shells function as non-Aboriginal Canadian infrastructure
utilizing Canadian law and regulation. Culture-based Aboriginal infrastructure roles
were lost from these national institutions because Canada purposefully undermined
Aboriginal law and regulation destroying the expression of these institutional culture-based
roles. When Canada undertakes Meaningful Consultation with Aboriginal Nations to
include Aboriginal law, regulation and roles into a reconciled national infrastructure,
the pre-existence of Aboriginal societal roles will be reconciled with the sovereignty
of the Crown.
The Nation Consultation step is a pre-requisite step to all aspects of the Meaningful
Consultation process. It is the only part of the process that can be separated and
initiated on its own without triggering a full Meaningful Consultation process with
an Aboriginal Nation. This is because the Nation Consultation utilizes the same work
to fulfill a dual mandate to:
- Acquire a database on Aboriginal culture; and,
- Define the culture-based framework of infrastructure for an Aboriginal right.
It is recommended that Nation Consultations be initiated post-haste and performed
by an NGO as part of the general mandate given by the Report of the Royal Commission
on Aboriginal Peoples to develop a database on Aboriginal history and culture by
201656. This will remove political overtones from initiating Nation Consultations
while extending a firm promise for future reconciliation.
See Reference Footnotes
© Christian Aboriginal Infrastructure Developments
Last Updated September 15, 2015