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HomePolicy Articles Article Summary

E-nakaskakowaahk (A Step Back): Nisichawayasihk Cree Nation and the Wuskwatim Project

Report by Peter Kulchyski

Peter Kulchyski’s paper analyzes The Summary of Understandings (SOU) between Nisichwayasihk Cree Nation (NCN) and Manitoba Hydro with Respect to the Wuskwatim Project, an agreement in principle from October 2003 that outlines the terms of NCN’s equity partnership in the hydro-electric development to take place in northern Manitoba.

The author examines the treaties that preceded the SOU and conducts a more nuanced analysis of Aboriginal treaties in general. Kulchyski asserts that both levels of government, as well as Manitoba Hydro, have interpreted the two treaties in a narrow and mean-spirited fashion. He then analyzes the SOU specifically, which Kulchyski argues effectively involves Manitoba Hydro and one First Nation disregarding the principle that previous treaties should be respected as the basis of nation-to-nation understandings. Further, this is all being done with government support.

Some provisions in the SOU could be seen in a positive light; however, Kulchyski argues the overall principles, and many of the details, are not favourable. The SOU does not contemplate any significant support for the hunting way of life; in fact, it moves in a direction that diminishes the possibility of a future for northern hunters. If Manitoba Hydro intends to follow this model, the author warns, there is a danger Manitoba will be a last bastion of old colonial relations with respect to Aboriginal rights.

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Policy Publication Details

Author(s): Peter Kulchyski;
Publisher: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives [ Visit Website ]
Year Published: 2004; Publisher Type: Research Institute
Publicly Available: Yes Research Focus: Provincial;
Registration Required: No Language: English
Payment Required: No Publication Format: Adobe PDF

Subjects / Categories:

Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Treaty Rights
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Economic Development
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Economic Development / 2004
Policy Articles / Aboriginal / Treaty Rights / 2004
Policy Articles / Aboriginal

Keywords / Tags:

aboriginal treaty rights; hydro-electricity; hunting rights; Manitoba Hydro; interpretation of aboriginal treaties; Cree Nation;