restricted access “Saying No to Resource Development is Not an Option”: Economic Development in Moose Cree First Nation

In 2004 and 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a trilogy of decisions that outlined the doctrine of the duty to consult and accommodate, thereby changing how resource development occurs in Aboriginal traditional territories. As a result of these decisions, new avenues of economic development for well-resourced First Nations have opened up, with the hope of creating a new future for remote Aboriginal communities; but are these types of agreements meeting the expectations of First Nations and their members? The authors visited a First Nations community that recently negotiated impact and benefit agreements with large industrial proponents. The authors conducted in-depth, long interviews with 17 key informants: former chiefs and grand chiefs, executive directors of community agencies, program directors, business persons, spiritual persons and elders, property managers, and direct-service practitioners. Five themes, or areas of concern, emerged from the research: unemployment, employment, and economic stimulation; social and physical health concerns; negotiations and meaningful community involvement; corporate social responsibility, capacity building, and social capital; and environmental concerns and cultural relevance. Despite the concerns these agreements raised, 14 of 17 informants remained in favour of the impact and benefit agreements.