On the ground, Indigenous perspectives on how FPIC should be operationalized have been routinely ignored. Yet if it is to be properly realized, the provision of FPIC must be interpreted according to its Indigenous context. For some it may be a matter of being able to say ‘no’ to mining flat out, but for others it may be the start of a process of consultation.
John Cutfeet of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation, Canada relayed that the KI “respect the sovereign right of future generations to review our decisions.”
This view was seconded by Anne Marie Sam of the Nak’azdli First Nation, who described that for the Nak’adzli it could be appropriate for FPIC to be “an ongoing process.”
The report seeks to emphasize the importance of this grounded knowledge. Rather than trying to find a short definition for FPIC the new study seeks to elucidate its general principles to iron out the complications that industry hides behind. Recognising the concerns of Indigenous communities and that the promises and behaviour of mining companies are often diametrically opposed it places emphasis on the communities sovereign right to choose according to their own form of governance.
Part of the report is dedicated to highlighting the sophisticated protocols for the realization of FPIC that many Indigenous peoples have already developed themselves. These are incredibly important as they allow critics of mining companies to respond when asked ‘how can FPIC be done?’ A significant stumbling block in the past.
As Indigenous peoples develop their own ways of making FPIC a reality, mining companies that are serious about cleaning up their act must accept that this is the rights-based FPIC they must recognize. Those that don’t must be challenged ceaselessly.
Humanists for Social Justice and Environmental Action supports Human Rights, Social and Economic Justice, Environmental Activism and Planetary Ethics in North America & Globally, with particular reference to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other Human Rights UN treaties and conventions listed above.