A research meeting, “Consultation and consent: Intercultural perspectives in resource governance”, was hosted by Matawa First Nations Management in Thunder Bay, Ontario over several days in late October 27, 2016. This event was a key milestone in the research project led by Dr. Terry Mitchell at Laurier University funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) grant. The project is examining the experiences of consultation and processes of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) in resource development across four regions: northern Ontario, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Chile.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, was welcomed with a dinner and greetings from Chief Peter Collins from Fort William First Nation and Elder Gerry Martin. The Special Rapporteur then gave a public talk at Lakehead University, “Free, Prior, and Informed Consent: A local and global issue”, which was attended by nearly 300 people, in which she shared about the challenges and opportunities in implementing free, prior, and informed consent.
Over 30 people participated in the meeting, including members from several of the Matawa First Nations communities, Matawa First Nations Management, students and researchers. The following day the Special Rapporteur met privately with the Indigenous community members and leaders who attended the meeting at Matawa First Nations Management to dialogue about their experiences of consultation and consent in resource development on their lands and territories.The meeting concluded with a workshop on FPIC which promoted reflection on what the terms “free”, “prior”, “informed”, and “consent” mean in each of the participant’s territories, advancing our understanding of how to put the right to FPIC into action.