first nations

first nations

Shehzad Noorani: Championing the Underdog

20h ago
SOURCE  

Description

Gentrification – the process of bringing commerce, services and new housing to neglected neighborhoods – has revitalized many western cities. In North America in particular, downtown areas have seen a reversal of the ‘white flight’ of the 1960s. But gentrification has seldom paid heed to inclusivity: often, the process has squeezed out minorities, the poor, and the hand-to-mouth creative demographics who had made these areas their home. Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park has in recent years become a refuge for the homeless. Here, the clash between gentrification and its opponents has taken on a sharp ethnic edge. Most of the homeless in the Park are First Nations Peoples. When a court ordered their eviction, they began to organize. One of their arguments is that the Park is unceded First Nations land – a common law principle which holds that indigenous people retain customary rights over territory even after the establishment of modern states and property regimes. The case illustrates some of the quandaries of the rule of law: the existence of competing understandings of lawfulness; the balance between legality and compassion; and the collective rights of minority groups in modern democracies. IDLO has a growing body of research and programming on intercultural justice, conflict reduction and indigenous rights.