Chapter 18 Key Terms, Figures, or Sites

Bill C-92: (2020) Allows Indigenous communities to take partial or full jurisdiction over child and family services for their children, which had previously been a provincial responsibility.

Blackstock, Cindy: Gitxsan activist, McGill University scholar, and executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada who worked with Amnesty International to file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal stating that the operating interpretation of Jordan’s Principle was too narrow and discriminatory, leading to a $20 billion class action settlement—the largest in Canadian history.

constitutional patriation: Process of transfer of the authority to amend a country’s constitution from a colonial governing body to that country, signifying independence from the colonial power. In the case of Canada, it refers to the 1982 amendment of Canada’s Constitution from being a British statute subject to the approval of the British Parliament to being held in Canada under the authority of the Parliament of Canada.

division of powers: Situation in which different levels of government in a federal system have authority over different aspects of public policy.

Harper, Elijah: Anishinini chief from Red Sucker Lake and member of the Manitoba legislature (NDP, Rupertsland) who was instrumental in the failure of the Meech Lake Accord by withholding his vote for ratification.

involuntary sterilization: (1960s–present) Sterilizing Indigenous women, so that they can no longer conceive children, without their consent. In some cases, women didn’t even know the procedures had been performed until after the fact. At present, studies of this practice rooted in medical racism are spotty, with the most comprehensive being a provincial study in progress in Quebec at time of publication of this edition.

James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement: (JBNQA) Land claim agreement of 1975 between Inuit and Iynu of northern Quebec and federal and provincial governments that involved a transfer of money in exchange for cession of land that allowed more political, economic, and social control of their own affairs than the numbered treaties, but failed to entrench Aboriginal rights. The JBNQA resulted from Indigenous objections to the province’s James Bay hydroelectric projects, begun in 1971.

Jordan’s Principle: (2005) Under this principle, any public service ordinarily available to other children must be made available to First Nations children without delay or denial to prevent service inequities like the one that had led to the death of Jordan Anderson of Norway House Cree Nation in Manitoba.

Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry: (1974–7) Investigation commissioned by the Canadian federal government and headed by Justice Thomas Berger to study the social, economic, and environmental impact of a proposed gas pipeline and energy corridor from the western Arctic to Alberta and further south. The commission recommended that the pipeline be put on hold for 10 years to allow time for Indigenous concerns to be considered. By the time the moratorium ended, Indigenous people were more willing to move forward with the project as long as they could share in the revenues generated.

Meech Lake Accord: (1987) An agreement between Prime Minister Mulroney and the provincial premiers to recognize Quebec as a distinct society with special status, to be ratified in each province within three years. It was moved forward during a period in which special status for Indigenous communities had been considered but rejected. Elijah Harper blocked its passage on procedural grounds in 1990 and it failed to take effect.

mercury poisoning: Mercury is a metal that is toxic to humans. While mercury can enter the body through touch or through inhaling it, it most often enters through ingesting fish or seafood that has absorbed too much mercury from the environment or environmental poisoning of the environment due to mining, hydroelectric dam floods, and other industrial processes. Once mercury is present in a watershed, biomagnification occurs where larger fish contain higher concentrations of mercury in their system both from environmental exposure and cumulatively eating smaller fish. Apex predator fish have the highest mercury concentrations in this scenario. Mercury poisoning causes pain and numbness of the body, poor coordination, tremors, blurry vision or blindness, memory loss, and seizures. In unborn children it can also cause brain damage.

Penner Report: (1983) Report of the Special Parliamentary Committee on Indian Self-Government, headed by Liberal MP Keith Penner, that recommended a distinct form of Indigenous self-government different from those of municipalities or legislated through the Indian Act. A major result would be the reinforcement of Aboriginal rights.

Pictou Landing Band Council and Maurina Beadle v. Canada: (2013) This suit was a test of Jordan’s Principle when the Manager for Social Programs at Aboriginal Affiars and Northern Development Canada refused to cover the expenses for the home care of a teen with multiple disabilities. The court ruled for the plaintiff, determining that the Manager had failed to apply Jordan’s Principle to the request.

Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples: (RCAP, 1991–6) Commission set up in the wake of the Kanesatake standoff and chaired by Georges Erasmus, a former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, and René Dussault, a judge of the Quebec Appeals Court. Its final five-volume report included 440 specific recommendations that would, if enacted, involve a fundamental reorganization of the country’s social and political institutions in relation to Indigenous Peoples.

self-government: Government controlled and directed by the inhabitants of a region rather than by an outside authority.

specific claims: Claims concerning outstanding legal obligations on the part of the government, such as non-fulfillment of a treaty, breach of an obligation under the Indian Act, or improper actions in connection with the acquisition or disposition of land by government employees or agents.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: (UNDRIP) Developed through 25 years of consultation and deliberation, UNDRIP is an international instrument consisting of 46 articles overwhelmingly approved by the United Nations in 2007 to define rights that constitute the “minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of the Indigenous Peoples of the world.” On 21 June 2021, The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which affirmed UNDRIP as a universal international human rights instrument with application in Canadian law, received Royal Assent and came into force.

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