It has also sent the country hurtling towards environmental catastrophe. Pipelines, mines, shipping terminals and other types of extractive infrastructure present constant ecological and public health risks that turn into disastrous realities all too often. Last year, for example, a petroleum tug-barge ran ashore near Bella Bella in British Columbia, leaking diesel into one of the richest marine habitats and cultural treasures in Canada and the world. At the same time, fossil fuels are superheating the planet and transforming Canada forever.
Indigenous peoples are taking center stage in battles over the future of energy and natural resources, governance, and values
Canada has ample reason to protect and even expand Indigenous rights by moving to the international standard of Free Prior and Informed Consent outlined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and upholding the Supreme Court of Canada's landmark ruling in the Tsilhqot'in case. These standards and precedents mandate full and informed approval from Indigenous peoples before advancing any projects that impact their territories.The minority NDP-Green provincial government, which recently unseated the Liberals in British Columbia, has pledged to uphold principles outlined in UNDRIP and the Tsilhqot'in decision and stop the Trans Mountain pipeline.Amidst metastasizing social injustice, economic stagnation and environmental catastrophe, Indigenous peoples are leading the way forward to a more just future for our lands, waters, economies and all the nations and peoples who share them. Canada must follow.Julian Brave NoiseCat (Secwepemc/St'at'imc) is a writer currently reporting from across Turtle Island with generous support from the CBC's Indigenous Fellowship and High Country News' Diverse Western Voices Award. He is a regular contributor to The Guardian.Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.
Read More: The Fight For a Fish That Feeds the BC Coast