Balancing Indigenous Rights and Sustainable Development
Respecting the rights and interests of indigenous peoples and nonindigenous stakeholders requires a complex balancing act—one that has challenged legal systems in Canada and around the world.
Fortunately, Dr. Dwight Newman, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Rights in Constitutional and International Law, is able to provide well-researched, independent guidance to courts that are grappling with some of the most intractable questions in this field. Newman is helping provide a balance among different rights and interests in areas such as natural resource development that involves indigenous communities.
For example, Newman aims to understand how courts, communities, policy-makers, and other stakeholders can work together to create a policy framework that enables responsible resource development while respecting indigenous rights. To do this, he is studying indigenous rights norms both in Canada and within international law. He is examining how local circumstances make it more or less appropriate to draw on international legal experience in developing legal frameworks.
By looking at both constitutional and international law, Newman is also examining how these legal systems can adapt in order to offer a more effective voice to indigenous communities. In addition, his research is shedding light on how indigenous advocacy can best make use of the interaction between these different legal orders.
Newman’s research is providing answers that promise to help courts, communities, policy-makers and other stakeholders look at issues in innovative ways in order to respect the rights of indigenous communities while finding win-win outcomes for all.