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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Using Indigenous legal processes to strengthen Indigenous jurisdiction : Squamish Nation land use planning and the Squamish Nation assessment of the Woodfibre liquefied natural gas projects Sankey, Jennifer M.


This dissertation examines how Squamish Nation has created its own legal processes in land use planning and environmental assessment to strengthen its jurisdiction over land, water, and resources in Squamish Nation Territory. It provides a case study of Squamish Nation’s development of the Xay Temíxw Land Use Plan for Forests and Wilderness of Squamish Nation Traditional Territory, its negotiation of an agreement on land use planning with the Province of British Columbia, and its creation of an environmental assessment process (the Squamish Process) to assess liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects being proposed in Howe Sound. The case study reveals Squamish Nation’s motivations for developing the processes; the type of community engagement it used; the perspectives, values, and laws Squamish members brought to their deliberations in the processes; and how Squamish Nation made its final decisions. It illuminates how these processes articulate Squamish legal principles to wider Canadian audiences through the plans, reports and agreements that have emerged from the processes. It also shows how these processes placed pressure on the state, as well as third parties, and how these pressures led to shifts in state/proponent practices and behaviours that have strengthened Squamish Nation jurisdiction. The research suggests that successful implementation of the doctrine of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) will be better achieved if Canadian governments shift their focus away from narrow judicial interpretations of the duty to consult, and toward Indigenous-led processes for establishing consent, articulated through Indigenous legal orders.

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