Skip to content

This Week in Indigenous Rights 2018–10–29


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/10/29

“Dr. Robin Gray, Assistant Professor of Sociology at UTM, argued at an Indigenous Education Week event that the full rights to ownership of song recordings of the Ts’msyen Indigenous people — many of which are legally owned by Columbia University as part of its Laura Boulton Collection of Traditional and Liturgical Music — should be transferred to the Ts’msyen Indigenous people.

The talk was titled “Access & Control of Indigenous Cultural Heritage: When the ‘Object’ of Repatriation is Song,” held in the First Nations House (FNH) on October 23. The event was part of Indigenous Education Week, an endeavour by FNH to celebrate Indigenous contributions and Indigenous presence on campus.

During her talk, Gray explained how ethnomusicologist Laura Boulton recorded songs of the Ts’msyen people — an Indigenous people of the Pacific Northwest — in 1942, and then sold the recordings to Columbia University in 1962.”


“The Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians says the proposed Indigenous recognition rights framework meant to affirm their rights will do the exact opposite. And the Ontario group wants to ensure the framework gains wide opposition prior to the next federal election slated for the fall of 2019.

The framework, a promise made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, would prioritize section 35 of the Constitution Act, which supports rights and reconciliation.

It would also introduce 10 principles to build a renewed relationship with Indigenous communities including the recognition of Indigenous self-government and a distinctions-based approach to ensure unique rights are maintained.”


“There was nowhere left to smudge.

This was a few years back, after Dalhousie University tore down its Indigenous Students’ Centre during campus renovations; a temporary location had no place for the ceremonial burning of sweet grass, sage, tobacco or cedar, and left some Indigenous students feeling adrift, their needs invisible.

Aaron Prosper, a Mi’kmaw student who had lived most of his life on Nova Scotia’s Eskasoni reserve, was just in his second year then. But in his new role as the Indigenous students’ representative on campus, the responsibility to fix the problem fell to him.”


“Noel Castillo Aguilar, member of the Indigenous Rights Defense Committee (Codedi), was murdered Thursday afternoon in Santiago Astata, Oaxaca, southern Mexico.

The 44-year-old activist was involved in the local chapter of Codedi, an organization with presence across the state of Oaxaca, and the defense of the community’s beaches, rivers and overall territory.

“This is clearly a political crime,” said the Codedi in a public statement.”


“A Clear General Exception for Obligations to Indigenous Peoples

At Canada’s request, USMCA includes a general exception to protect the rights of Indigenous peoples. This exception — Article 32.5 — clearly states that legal obligations to Indigenous peoples cannot be trumped, or interfered with, by commitments under trade rules: “nothing in this Agreement shall preclude a Party from adopting or maintaining a measure it deems necessary to fulfill its legal obligations to Indigenous peoples”. For Canada, this provides protection for the implementation of legal obligations affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982, such as lands becoming subject to Aboriginal title or rights, or obligations set out in modern treaties like the Tsawwassen First Nation Final Agreement. The general exception covers the entire USMCA.

A New Chapter on the Environment

USMCA also includes a new chapter on the environment — Chapter 24. Provisions in this chapter recognize the specific importance of the environment for Indigenous peoples, and the role they play in its long-term conservation. Additionally, USMCA preserves the pre-existing carve-out related to Aboriginal harvesting of natural resources.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: