What should First Nations do when disagreements arise about treaty rights?
The courts have been one possible means of resolving disagreements. Historically there is often little trust by First Nations in Canada’s justice system.
Mediation has been very useful for resolving disputes. Compared with court proceedings the cost is much less and there is more control by the parties involved in the disagreement. However the setting, the format and the assumptions underlying conventional mediation may not fit comfortably for treaty disagreements.
An new hybrid dispute resolution process is described in a recent issue of Macleans magazine. Authors John Beaucage, Alicia Kuin, and Paul Iacono have developed a culturally sensitive team approach for resolution of disputes in support of reconciliation.
The article describes two goals which are necessary to bridge the cultural gap and sort through many layers of conflict before problem solving occurs:
- To create an atmosphere and setting that is culturally appropriate for all of the parties to the dispute.
- To ensure that the dynamics of conflict involved in the dispute are given the space and time needed to be voiced.
The new hybrid process starts with meetings with members of the First Nation communities in their communities. In the second stage the representatives take part in four talking circles which include appropriate ceremonies. The third stage consists of the representatives talking about solutions and ultimately writing out the parameters of their preferred solutions, which are then taken back to the communities.
After these steps are completed with the communities, the second and third stages are repeated when all the members of the First Nation Territory are ready to meet with the government representatives.
This process could also be used for First Nations and businesses to reach agreements in a way which builds communication and lasting relationships by ensuring that the voices of First Nation people are heard. Corporate Canada, pay attention!
Read the full article here:
Join us in London, Ontario, Canada for Fundamentals of Mediation March 21, 22, 23, 26, & 27, 2018