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Indigenous Peoples,
and local communities:
Why the distinction is
important
About the Métis National Council
Since 1983, the MNC has represented the Métis Nation
nationally, and internationally. It receives its mandate
and direction from the democratically elected leadership
of Métis governments in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta,
and British Columbia, the MNC Governing Members.
Specifically, the MNC reflects and moves forward on the
desires and aspirations of these Métis governments at
the national and international levels.
The MNC’s long term goal is that: ”Métis people are
healthy, resilient, grounded in their culture and language,
and thriving as individuals and as members of their Métis
families and communities.”
Our Work Internationally
As the international voice for the Métis Nation, MNC engages
across the United Nations system in the following ways:
• United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
• Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
• United Nations Framework on Climate Change
• United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity
• RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands
• United Nations Water Conference
• And others
Terminology: Indigenous Peoples, and local communities
• The Summit resulted in the establishment of the Convention on Biological
Diversity (CBD) and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
• The “Rio Declaration” engrained the coupling of Indigenous Peoples with local
communities.
• Principle 22 states: “Indigenous peoples and their communities and other local
communities have a vital role in environmental management and development
because of their knowledge and traditional practices.”
• Note that this text includes separation of Indigenous Peoples and their
communities from local communities, however subsequent texts have joined
“Indigenous Peoples and local communities” including in new Convention
texts.
1992 Rio Earth Summit
Convention on Biological Diversity
Convention text states: “Innovations and practices of indigenous and
local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the
conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote
their wider application with the approval and involvement of the
holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices encourage the
equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of such
knowledge, innovations and practices.”
Terminology in Article 8j
Terminology Considerations: 30 Years Later
Recommendations to Decouple Terms post-UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples
2021: United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to
the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council noted that:
• “….one of the concerns expressed by some Indigenous Peoples is the
tendency to lump Indigenous Peoples with ”local communities” within multiple
international conventions and other multilateral agreements. This development
may have the impact o undermining Indigenous Peoples’ rights under the
Declaration, in particular their right to self-determination, a concern shared by
some States.”
Terminology Considerations: 30 Years Later
Recommendations to Decouple Terms post-UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples
2023: Final report on the 22nd Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous
Issues includes a paragraph that states:
• “The Permanent Forum reiterates its call at its twenty-first session for a clear
distinction between Indigenous Peoples and local communities. All United
Nations entities and State parties to treaties concerning the environment,
biodiversity and climate are encouraged to eliminate the use of the term “local
communities” in connection with Indigenous Peoples, so that the term
“Indigenous Peoples and local communities” would be abolished.”
Terminology Considerations: 30 Years Later
Recommendations to Decouple Terms post-UN Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples
2023: A joint statement released by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues,
the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Expert
Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to:
• “Urge all UN entities in their methods of work to refrain from conflating,
associating, combining, or equating Indigenous Peoples with non-indigenous
entities, such as minorities, vulnerable groups, or “local communities”. We
further request that all UN Member State parties to treaties related to the
environment, biodiversity, and climate cease using the term “local communities”
alongside “Indigenous Peoples,” so that the term ”Indigenous Peoples and local
communities” is no longer used.
Why Terminology Matters
Grouping Indigenous Peoples with
local communities diminishes the
distinct rights and status of
Indigenous Peoples
Grouping Indigenous Peoples with
local communities is incongruous with
the recognition of Indigenous rights in
domestic law and policy
Indigenous Peoples have inherent
and collective rights to lands,
territories, and resources as well as a
right to self-determination as peoples.
The collective rights of Indigenous
Peoples are distinct from other
stakeholder groups who are
represented by States.
The legal status of local communities
and the meaning of the term is
uncertain. It could encompass any or
all individuals of groups of
stakeholders and can undermine the
advocacy of Indigenous Peoples
where their rights are implicated.
Considerations for Engagement
The distinct rights of Indigenous Peoples
Guide engagement in line with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples and consider:
• The governance structure of the Indigenous Nation you’re approaching for
engagement
• Representation: who speaks for who? Are you engaging at the appropriate
scale?
• Principles of good engagement
• Planning, reciprocity, follow-up and respectful clarity
• Moving at the speed of trust
• Consider training programs like IAP2 (International Association for Public
Participation)
613-232-3216
metisnation.ca
info@metisnation.ca
180 Elgin Street, Suite 600
Ottawa, ON K2P 2K3

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Indigenous Peoples, and local communities: Why the distinction is important

  • 1. Indigenous Peoples, and local communities: Why the distinction is important
  • 2. About the Métis National Council Since 1983, the MNC has represented the Métis Nation nationally, and internationally. It receives its mandate and direction from the democratically elected leadership of Métis governments in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia, the MNC Governing Members. Specifically, the MNC reflects and moves forward on the desires and aspirations of these Métis governments at the national and international levels. The MNC’s long term goal is that: ”Métis people are healthy, resilient, grounded in their culture and language, and thriving as individuals and as members of their Métis families and communities.”
  • 3. Our Work Internationally As the international voice for the Métis Nation, MNC engages across the United Nations system in the following ways: • United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues • Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples • United Nations Framework on Climate Change • United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity • RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands • United Nations Water Conference • And others
  • 4. Terminology: Indigenous Peoples, and local communities • The Summit resulted in the establishment of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). • The “Rio Declaration” engrained the coupling of Indigenous Peoples with local communities. • Principle 22 states: “Indigenous peoples and their communities and other local communities have a vital role in environmental management and development because of their knowledge and traditional practices.” • Note that this text includes separation of Indigenous Peoples and their communities from local communities, however subsequent texts have joined “Indigenous Peoples and local communities” including in new Convention texts. 1992 Rio Earth Summit
  • 5. Convention on Biological Diversity Convention text states: “Innovations and practices of indigenous and local communities embodying traditional lifestyles relevant for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge, innovations and practices encourage the equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovations and practices.” Terminology in Article 8j
  • 6. Terminology Considerations: 30 Years Later Recommendations to Decouple Terms post-UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2021: United Nations Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to the 48th session of the UN Human Rights Council noted that: • “….one of the concerns expressed by some Indigenous Peoples is the tendency to lump Indigenous Peoples with ”local communities” within multiple international conventions and other multilateral agreements. This development may have the impact o undermining Indigenous Peoples’ rights under the Declaration, in particular their right to self-determination, a concern shared by some States.”
  • 7. Terminology Considerations: 30 Years Later Recommendations to Decouple Terms post-UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2023: Final report on the 22nd Session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues includes a paragraph that states: • “The Permanent Forum reiterates its call at its twenty-first session for a clear distinction between Indigenous Peoples and local communities. All United Nations entities and State parties to treaties concerning the environment, biodiversity and climate are encouraged to eliminate the use of the term “local communities” in connection with Indigenous Peoples, so that the term “Indigenous Peoples and local communities” would be abolished.”
  • 8. Terminology Considerations: 30 Years Later Recommendations to Decouple Terms post-UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2023: A joint statement released by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to: • “Urge all UN entities in their methods of work to refrain from conflating, associating, combining, or equating Indigenous Peoples with non-indigenous entities, such as minorities, vulnerable groups, or “local communities”. We further request that all UN Member State parties to treaties related to the environment, biodiversity, and climate cease using the term “local communities” alongside “Indigenous Peoples,” so that the term ”Indigenous Peoples and local communities” is no longer used.
  • 9. Why Terminology Matters Grouping Indigenous Peoples with local communities diminishes the distinct rights and status of Indigenous Peoples Grouping Indigenous Peoples with local communities is incongruous with the recognition of Indigenous rights in domestic law and policy Indigenous Peoples have inherent and collective rights to lands, territories, and resources as well as a right to self-determination as peoples. The collective rights of Indigenous Peoples are distinct from other stakeholder groups who are represented by States. The legal status of local communities and the meaning of the term is uncertain. It could encompass any or all individuals of groups of stakeholders and can undermine the advocacy of Indigenous Peoples where their rights are implicated.
  • 10. Considerations for Engagement The distinct rights of Indigenous Peoples Guide engagement in line with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and consider: • The governance structure of the Indigenous Nation you’re approaching for engagement • Representation: who speaks for who? Are you engaging at the appropriate scale? • Principles of good engagement • Planning, reciprocity, follow-up and respectful clarity • Moving at the speed of trust • Consider training programs like IAP2 (International Association for Public Participation)