25th Annual Women's Memorial March. Zack Embree


Indigenous peoples in Canada are made up of First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities. There are more than 1.6 million Indigenous peoples in Canada, representing 4.9 per cent of the population, according to 2016 census figures.

Through treaties and the Canadian Constitution Act, 1985 Canada has made significant promises to Indigenous peoples in exchange for access to Indigenous land. The vast majority of natural resource decisions and development in Canada has been made in violation of these promises and, as a result, the government of Canada has promised to renew nation-to-nation relations with Canada’s Indigenous peoples.

By any measure the federal government and its provincial counterparts have much work to do. Critics have pointed out approvals of recent projects like the Site C dam and the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline challenge Canada’s commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which guarantees the right to “free, prior and informed consent.”

Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty International Canada, has said “by any measure, it is the rights of Indigenous people that is our biggest challenge and our most serious responsibility when it comes to improving Canada’s human rights record.”

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