Comprehensive land claims agreements (also known as modern treaties) define nation-to-nation and government-to-government relationships between an Indigenous signatory, the Government of Canada, and in some cases a province or territory. They are intended to improve the social, cultural, political and economic well-being of the Indigenous people concerned. Modern treaties affect nearly half of Canada’s land, waters and resources.
Many First Nations, Inuit and Métis have learned the hard way that negotiating a modern treaty is just the first step; ongoing pressure is required to ensure that these agreements are respected, honoured, and fully implemented. Modern treaties matter to ALL Canadians.
NVision has provided planning, communication and management support for implementation since the company began; but some of our most important work started with a conference.
In 2003, we were asked to organize a meeting of all the major comprehensive land claims agreement-holders in Canada. The “Redefining Relationships” conference proved to be a watershed; it brought together Indigenous leadership, legal and policy resources, senior government officials, and created the first-ever forum for focused discussion on implementation issues. The event was so successful, in fact, that its participants agreed to form the Land Claims Agreement Coalition, mandated to carry on the important advocacy and information-sharing work begun at the conference.
More than a Decade of Progress
Since that initial conference, the LCAC has expanded to include every signed modern treaty organization and government in Canada, becoming the pre-eminent advocate for effective implementation, and providing a critical forum for exchange between Indigenous agreement-holders and the Government of Canada.
In addition to providing general management, administrative and logistical support to the Coalition, we’ve helped to design and implement a number of special initiatives: raising the profile of modern treaties through training and advocacy, connecting members with academia, supporting policy development processes, and planning and managing major national meetings, workshops and conferences.
One recent example was our work on the 2015 “Making Treaties Work for Future Generations” conference, held at the University of Ottawa to engage the academic community with LCAC members and attract scholarly attention to land claims issues. Working closely with LCAC, we managed all aspects of the conference, including its design and agenda, logistics and administration, fundraising, the recording and publication of proceedings, and the establishment of productive linkages between LCAC members and scholars for ongoing research and policy development. The conference was a complete success, resulting in steps toward a major research grant proposal to provide $2.5+ million for modern treaties research over the next five years.