IAIA Indigenous Peoples Section Builds Bridge, Creates a Declaration
18 May 2017
Waskaganish, North America
Niskamoon Corporation in collaboration with the Indigenous Peoples Section of the International Association for Impact Assessment, invited Indigenous participants from around the world to participate in Aashukan, an exchange hosted by the Crees of Northern Quebec, Canada in their ancestral homelands of Eeyou Istchee in the Cree community of Waskaganish. Aashukan means “bridge” in eastern Cree. The goal of the event was to create a new conversation that reconciles development and the protection of Indigenous culture and lands. It built bridges between these two imperatives for the benefit of all.
From March 30-2 April 2017 the James Bay Cree community of Waskaganish in northern Québec saw an unprecedented IAIA pre-conference gathering of indigenous participants. As part of the Aashukan (“bridge” in eastern Cree) exchange, 16 indigenous representatives from around the world met to share their experiences with EIA processes and to discuss how indigenous communities can balance development with preservation of traditional land and culture. The talks resulted in the Aashukan Declaration, a document that outlines—from an Indigenous perspective— the principles for how impact assessment should be managed.