Chapter 3 - Duty to Consult

Chapter 3 - Duty to Consult

Chapter 3 - Duty to Consult

Chapter 3 - Duty to Consult

Chapter 3 - Duty to Consult

In Chapter 3 of this series on Truth and Reconciliation, Kevin walks us through how the Call To Action #92 relates to economic development in Canada and the importance of the duty to consult.

Kevin Lamoureux

PRESENTER

Kevin Lamoureux

Professor and Associate Vice President, University of Winnipeg

 

PRESENTER

Kevin Lamoureux

Professor and Associate Vice President, University of Winnipeg

PRESENTER

Kevin Lamoureux

Professor and Associate Vice President, University of Winnipeg

PRESENTER

Kevin Lamoureux

Professor and Associate Vice President, University of Winnipeg

PRESENTER

Kevin Lamoureux

Professor and Associate Vice President, University of Winnipeg

Transcript

Hello, Bijou, Mino gigizheb, Good morning. I'm Kevin Lamoureux. I have the great pleasure of speaking to you today from here at the Squamish Lil'wat Cultural Center on Traditional Territory. And I wanted to talk to you today a little bit about reconciliation.

Call to Action 92, invites us to support one another in learning this history and reclaiming this history, what it means to operate a business within Canada. It reminds us of the incredible opportunity to make a living that was given to us through these partnerships. And it reminds us that the responsibilities created by those relationships are codified in our constitution through section 25 and section 35. Whenever any development, whenever any business practice, whenever any resource extraction is going to involve First Nations people, their land or their resources, the duty to consult is activated.

Now we need to understand that duty to consult doesn't necessarily mean difficulty. It doesn't necessarily mean that there is going to be hardship in front of us in conducting business. In fact, I think as we begin to connect with others who have walked this path, we'll find that Call to Action 92 has created incredible opportunities for us to reimagine business as usual. What it has done for us has allowed us to create partnerships which continue to create and inspire vibrancy across Canada. It has allowed indigenous communities to engage with economic development in a way that we have never seen possible in Canada before. I think that call to action is a beautiful opportunity.

I know that there are many economists and other people who are well educated and have their finger on the pulse of these issues who have said that there is no economic future in Canada without indigenous people, that our vibrancy as a nation requires us to be in good relationship with one another. And that idea of good relationship is at the heart of reconciliation. I need you to understand that when we think about this word reconciliation, there are no losers. The duty to consult doesn't necessitate that somebody lose. That's a zero sum game mentality. It has no application to these kind of relationships. If we're doing reconciliation the right way, everybody wins.

There are opportunities that we might not have even thought about before that are going to become inspiration for future generations. That's the role that the corporate sector can play in reconciliation. And I think we'll find that the organizations, the companies, the businesses that are able to embrace this the most enthusiastically are the ones going to see incredible opportunities emerge for them the quickest. One thing we have to be aware of is that the duty to consult doesn't necessarily mean that all communities that we engage with are going to be ready to hear our ideas, to be able to be full partners in participating in these programs. It may become an opportunity for us to work with communities, to build capacity so that we can be equal partners. What a beautiful act of patriotism, what a beautiful contribution to make for our future to ensure that our partners are equal partners, to work with one another to help us achieve our potential.

One last thing I might say for the purposes of this video about the duty to consult is about indigenous worldviews. We have seen in Canada, and it wouldn't be too hard to point out examples of what can happen when that duty to consult is ignored. When indigenous people's worldviews and values are ignored. We've seen the protests. We've seen economic development projects that have failed because of a failure to live up to that commitment. We've seen protests, we've seen violence. And one thing that I would invite you to begin to explore is an indigenous worldview as it relates to the living world. In my own Ojibwe culture, we have a phrase [foreign language] which is kindhearted mother earth. And when we think about mother earth, we think about this living world as mother with the same emotional attachment that we have to our own human mothers, this place that gives us life and the opportunity to provide for one another, the opportunity to provide for our kids.

And it's something that is easy to lose sight of. Even for me, I'll make a confession that growing up, it was very, very easy for me to get caught up in consumption and luxury items and wanting to have the fanciest and the newest and the shiniest and the brightest. I'll share one example from my own story about how difficult it can be to remember to engage with this worldview, how difficult it can be to live according to this indigenous worldview, kindhearted mother earth.

I grew up away from my birth family. I grew up in care across Canada, many different places. I think I had counted it up by the time I was 18, I had moved 56 times. But I was lucky. No matter where I was growing up, my family, my indigenous family, my father's side of the family would always try to reach out to me and remind me that I was loved. I'm very fortunate for that. We're having conversations socially today about toxic masculinity. And I have to confess, although it brings me no pride to do so that I grew up with that toxic masculine ideology surrounding me. I grew up with men who believed that we solve conflict through violence, that had unfortunate attitudes towards women. And so I grew up with this idea of what it meant to be a man, meaning being aggressive, sometimes being violent, internalizing that anger that I felt from growing up in injustice and away from my family. And so I was a very, very angry teenager.

And when I was 16, my uncles reached out to the family that I was with and asked if they could take me hunting because they were worried that I was going to forget how to be an Indian. I have to apologize. I know that that's not language we use anymore. I'm of an age. If I can give this some context. When I was a kid, we were Indians when we were happy. And we were natives when we were angry and protesting. And they were worried that I was going to forget how to be indigenous. Now this was very exciting to me, because when I thought about what it meant to be an Indian as a young person, I thought it meant to be angry. I thought it meant to be protesting. I thought it meant to be fighting against a world that meant to destroy you. And so I was excited. I thought this was going to be an opportunity for me to prove that I was a man. And so I readily agreed.

They picked me up early one morning to take me out. It was November. I remember this because it was deer season. Now I don't know if you've ever spent any time with indigenous people. But one thing that's often true is that we like to tease. We like to tease. I've heard people talk about the importance of humor for survival.

When I got into that truck, they started to tease me and it hurt my feelings, but I wasn't going to let on it hurt my feelings. I had an ego so big, it could barely fit in that truck. And so I just went stoic and we got to where we were going. And when we got out of the truck, they gave me a rifle. It was a 30 odd six. If anyone knows hunting, which is ridiculous because as a skinny teenager, that rifle would've knocked me off my feet if I had pulled the trigger, but I was excited. And they taught me the basics of looking down the barrel, about how to shoot. They taught me the basics of watching my feet when I stepped on twigs and dead leaves. I talked about never pointing a rifle at another human being about the direction of the wind. And they sent me off. And my heart was pounding with excitement, carrying a rifle.

Now I don't know if you've ever been hunting, but the defining characteristic of hunting is not excitement. In fact, it's boredom. In fact, by the end of the morning, all that I had done was gotten cold and the excitement had warned off, the enthusiasm had worn off and I was leaning against a tree and I was just starting to get resentful that I had to wake up so early. I recall that I was leaning, trying to warm my hands with my breath and out in the distance, what I recognize now was probably about 200 yards, I saw a little flicker of movement and I focused my attention and sure enough, there was a deer and my heart started to pound again.

Very slowly, I unslung the rifle from my shoulder and lifted up so that the stalk was against my shoulder. And I looked down the barrel through the scope of this animal and all of a sudden this animal that was barely a blur in the dying leaves of late fall, so small out in the distance, through the magnification was so close. And I had never seen a deer this close before. And I was absolutely taken by how beautiful this creature was. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe how strong she looked under her hide, her muscles from living in the living world. I couldn't believe how round her eyes were and how they glistened in the light from the moisture. I could see the steam coming from her nose and the twitch of her ear as she was listening to the world around her.

And as I was looking at this incredibly breathtakingly beautiful creature, it dawned on me that I was meant to kill her. And so I started the process that I was taught. I was taught to pull the trigger on the exhale I took in that deep breath. And I started to exhale, looking at her through the scope, aiming that rifle for the body mass behind the front leg, which is where the heart was for a humane and quick kill. And I started that exhale looking for that fraction of a second in between heartbeats.

And I got all the way through that breath and I hadn't pulled the trigger and I started to get scared. I was scared that my uncles would see what was going on and know that I wasn't a real man. They would know that I had failed to be a real indigenous person. And so I started the process again, I took in that breath and as I got through that breath a second time, I began to get angry because I realized that I did not want to pull that trigger. Nothing inside of me wanted to hurt that animal. I just wanted to look at her and appreciate how beautiful she was. I was angry at my uncles for putting me in that position. And at the same time, I was angry at myself for being so weak. Here I was meant to prove myself and I was failing.

And I decided in that moment of shame that no matter what I was going to pull the trigger in this moment. I lined up the shot again. And I took in the breath and I began the exhale. And sure enough, I heard that thunder clap of a rifle shot, which is so loud in the woods. And I looked around and I saw that animal's body rock from the energy of the round. And it wasn't me that had pulled the trigger. It was my uncle. He had seen her from a different angle and after taking the shot, he called to all of my uncles and me. And we began to ran towards this animal. And as I ran to where she was just beginning to fall, I started to cry.

And as I approached her, I started to cry uncontrollably. I got down on my knees and I put my hand on her. And I remember the desperate feeling of sadness knowing that this animal was about to die and there was nothing I could do about it. The finality of it, the tragedy that this animal had to die. And it dawned on me years later, not then, but years later that for all the teasing that went on that morning, nobody laughed at me for crying bout that animal. As my uncles came to her and got down on their knees and took tobacco out and began to sing to her, no one made fun of me. And it dawned on me years later that it was that indigenous person that they were worried that I was going to forget how to be. They were worried that I was going to forget to have so much love for the living world that if any creature had to give its life for me to eat, that I would fail to show due respect, that I might forget about that sacred obligation.

And I think we have an opportunity through Call to Action 92 and the rest of the calls to action, to maybe reimagine business as usual, perhaps a way of viewing the world, that places sustainability and an obligation to that which provides us with everything that we are a greater place of importance. I'm so grateful for this opportunity that we have. I'm grateful to the survivors who gave us this gift so that we could be a part of change if we want to be. I'm very excited to see what we're going to be capable of as we continue down this path together. And I say miigwech thank you, gichi miigwech a big thank you to all of my relations, which is each and every one of you. Thank you.

 

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