Canadian Biomass Magazine

Working with Indigenous communities: 8 questions to answer

July 15, 2019
By Howard Hampton

Whether you are a business, municipality, financial institution, or investor involved in some aspect of mining, forestry, energy, transportation, or many other fields and you intend to undertake activities on “Crown Land,” and in some cases, private land, you will need to consider the rights and interests of Indigenous people and you will need to have a plan for working with their communities.

Here are eight questions you need answered before you start:

1. What First Nations should you talk to?

2. Are there Metis or Non-Status communities that can also demonstrate a similar, historical relationship to the land and you must consider?

3. What Treaty or Treaties governs the Crown Land in question?

4. Is the First Nation an active member of a Treaty Organization or is it an Independent First Nation?

5. Is the First Nation a member of a Tribal Council?

6. Is the First Nation primarily guided by its traditions in conducting its affairs?

7. What importance does a First Nation place on the experience, wisdom and knowledge of its Elders in making decisions?

8. What is the working history of the Indigenous communities?

Howard Hampton is a Colleague at Pilot Law LLP ( A native of Fort Frances, Ont., his practice centres on First Nation issues as they impact resource development. Howard also served as Minister of Natural Resources of Ontario where he guided the modernization of Ontario’s forest management legislation through the development and passage of the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, and the creation of the Forest Renewal Trust Fund, and the Forest Futures Trust Fund.

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