First Nations don’t oppose energy projects – by Gregory John (Financial Post – August 26, 2020)

Overwhelming majority in support of responsible, sustainable development on their lands

Many people would have us believe Indigenous North Americans are unanimous in their opposition to oil and gas development. Canada has seen a steady stream of protesters travelling from the United States who cite “helping protect Indigenous lands” as their motivation for interfering with oil and gas development projects in this country.

Yet Indigenous people in Canada are far from homogeneous. In Canada there are 633 First Nations, plus the Métis people and the Inuit. In the U.S., there are another 574 Native-American groups.

Nowhere else on the planet would such a diverse group of peoples be expected to be unanimous about anything. The anti-resource development stereotype is false.

Among Indigenous groups there is clearly some opposition to some development in specific cases. But in recent research, a colleague and I found that an overwhelming majority of the British Columbia and Alberta First Nations that have taken public positions on oil and gas projects are in support of responsible, sustainable development on their lands.

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