Forum hosts Montreal meeting on indigenous land title systems

Members of a working group examining First Nations land title systems in Canada pose after a recent meeting in Montreal.

International experts gathered in Montreal recently to discuss how to reform the indigenous land title system in Canada.

This was the third meeting of the working group, whose mandate is to review and critique draft legislation on indigenous land title systems currently being developed in Canada.

Participants discussed whether the Canadian government holds proprietary rights over Indian lands, jurisdictional issues and other constitutional questions related to aboriginal land title. A number of briefings are being held in Australia, South Africa and in Latin America in order to inform other governments on the on-going process in Canada.

The event, held September 8 10, 2009, built on the previous working group meetings held in February and March 2009. The sessions brought together those drafting the legislation, key policy advisors on Canadian indigenous affairs, high ranking civil servants and academics to compare land title systems in Australia, Canada, South Africa and South Sudan and the United States. The project is organized by the Forum of Federations and the First Nations Tax Commission, with support from the Native Law Centre of Canada.

Working group members include Dr. C.T. (Manny) Jules, Chief Commissioner, First Nation Tax Commission, Canada; Dr. André Le Dressay, Director, Fiscal Realities, Canada; Professor Nic Olivier, University of Pretoria, South Africa; Mrs. Diane Cragg, Land and Governance Consultant, Registrar of Land Titles for Nisga’a Lisims Government, Canada; Mr. Graham Matthews, Partner, Lang Michener LLP, Canada; Mr. Stuart (Bud) Smith, Lawyer and President, Mejia Property Inc., Canada; Ms. Nawel Hamidi, barrister and consultant for the Forum of Federations, Canada; Mr. John McKennirey, Assistant Deputy Minister, Land and Economic Development, Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, Canada; Céline Auclair, Senior Advisor, Forum of Federations, Canada; Mrs. Maria Antonieta Delgado, Chief International Mission, European Commission, Peru; Professor Maureen Tehan, Associate Dean, University of Melbourne, Australia; Mr. Brent Moreau, Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, First Nations Tax Commission, Canada; Ms. Sara Smith, PhD. Candidate, University of Montréal, Canada; Mrs. Ann Shaw, Commissioner, First Nations Tax Commission, Canada; Maria del Carmen Delgado, Legal Manager, Instituto Liberdad y Democratia, Peru.

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