Who We Are
The Shared Path Consultation Initiative is a charitable organization that is addressing the challenges and opportunities that emerge where land use and Aboriginal and treaty rights intersect. We seek to provide opportunities and resources that enhance, inform, and facilitate Indigenous-non-Indigenous bridge building, particularly within the realm of land based practice.
Shared Path works towards a future in which Indigenous voices and rights form a sustained and integral part of how we share land, particularly with respect to land use planning law, policy, and governance in Ontario.
SPCI facilitates and supports a community of practice drawn from Indigenous and local governments, institutions, and organizations to navigate the challenges of an emerging reconciliation landscape through research, education, and relationship-building opportunities and resources. We believe that in order to flourish alongside each other, the path forward requires that we acknowledge our past, inform our present, and aspire towards a future in which we plan together for the benefit of all.
The Report of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission represents a watershed moment for Canadian society. While it built on the work of past efforts, for instance the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP, 1996), the TRC Report seems to have caused a shift in awareness across many sectors, and precipitated a nation-wide discourse, alongside increasing public awareness of the history of “Indian” residential schools and colonialism more broadly. There are many reasons why the Shared Path work is critical now; however, we look in particular to three of the TRC Calls to Action as the basis for our mandate:
Royal Proclamation and Covenant of Reconciliation: Call to Action #47
We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to repudiate concepts used to justify European sovereignty over Indigenous peoples and lands, such as the Doctrine of Discovery and terra nullius, and to reform those laws, government policies, and litigation strategies that continue to rely on such concepts.
Professional Training and Development for Public Servants: Call to Action #57
We call upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to provide education to public servants on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
Business and Reconciliation: Call to Action #92
We call upon the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a reconciliation framework and to apply its principles, norms, and standards to corporate policy and core operational activities involving Indigenous peoples and their lands and resources. This would include, but not be limited to, the following:
I. Commit to meaningful consultation, building respectful relationships, and obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of Indigenous peoples before proceeding with economic development projects.
III. Provide education for management and staff on the history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.
In response to the TRC Calls to Action 47, 57, and 92, the Shared Path works to provide support for local levels of government (both Indigenous and non-Indigenous), as well as land-based professionals to better engage in consultation and relationship-building efforts by way of providing online educational and awareness-building resources, creating opportunities for bridge-building, and urging legislative reform to provide greater clarity in these processes.
- Mutually beneficial collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities
- Relationship-building between Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments & institutions
- Promotion of the Consultation and Accommodation process by virtue of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982
- Ethical sharing of the land with an appreciation for cultural values
- A commitment to mutual learning and understanding
- Respect and appreciation for different ways of knowing, worldviews and epistemologies