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United Nations envoy arrives in Canada to document Aboriginal concerns

United Nations’ (UN) special rapporteur on indigenous rights James Anaya, a law professor, has arrived in Canada to survey the problems and concerns of Canadian Aboriginals.

“The idea is to get a first-hand view of the situation of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada by hearing directly from as many as I can,” said Anaya.

With no legally binding authority, Anaya’s job is to promote Aboriginal rights by ‘naming and shaming’ governments into policy action.

The report, which will come after Anaya’s 9-day visit, will include recommendations for the federal government and for First Nations communities.

No doubt land rights and use, including natural resource development, will be listed among the major concerns.

Canadian heavy industry has struggled to develop broad, healthy working relations with First Nations – particularly since the inception of the Idle No More movement, which aims to thwart industrial development.

“Our people and our Mother Earth can no longer afford to be economic hostages in the race to industrialise our homelands,” reads a quote from an Athabasca First Nation man on the Idle No More homepage.