Yellowhead Briefs

Yellowhead Briefs provide a platform for perspectives from key thinkers on First Nations issues. 

Our Briefs focus on topical and pressing issues affecting communities on the ground and ideas that challenge the status quo. 


Imagining Urban Indigenous Sovereignty & Space through Canadian UNDRIP Legislation

As cabinet returns to work this January, one item on the agenda should be implementing the new UNDRIP legislation. In this brief Kanatese Horn explores the possibilities UNDRIP holds for urban Indigenous governance and political authority.

A New Conversation on Inuit Self Government in Nunavut | ᓄᑖᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᔅᓴᖃᕐᕕᐅᔪᓐᓇᕐᑐᑦ ᐱᓪᓗᒍ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᓇᖕᒥᓂᖅ−ᒐᕙᒪᖃᓐᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᓄᓇᕗᖕᒥ

Aluki Kotierk discusses the problems faced as a result of incomplete implementation of the Nunavut agreement. Kotierk poses that Inuit self-governance may be the only way to truly improve the lives of the Inuit population in Nunavut after twenty years of the agreements existence.

Getting Back to Normal? Not if “Normal” means Indigenous Food and Health Insecurity

As many anticipate a post-COVID, return to ‘normal’, authors Elisa Levi and Hayley Lapalme draw attention to health inequities and structural issues which continue to undermine the well-being of Indigenous peoples, particularly through restricted self-determination in relation to food security.

Algonquin Anishinabeg vs. The Algonquins of Ontario: Development, Recognition & Ongoing Colonization

As the Algonquins of Ontario lead a for profit housing development in Ottawa, concerns about their membership issues and land claim are re-emerging. Could this organization be a threat to the Algonquin Nation?

Does the Charter Apply? The Struggle to Protect Free Speech On-Reserve

Do Charter Rights apply on-reserve? In response to concerns about political repression at Kwantlen First Nation, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association issued a letter arguing that it does. In this Brief, Robert Jago reflects on the challenges and implications for the future of free speech


COVID-19 in Community: How are First Nations Responding?

While much of the country has been self-isolating for three weeks, Indigenous governments and organizations have been preparing and are now bracing for the impact of coronavirus and covid 19 in their communities.

A Métis Royal Rumble: Identity, Politics & the Failure of Our Leadership

Just as national and provincial Metis organizations begin self-government discussions, a dispute about Metis identity threatens to divide the Nation.

The Rise of the Anishinabek Nation, Part II: The Fiscal Agreement

In February 2019 Anishinaabeg communities in Ontario will vote to ratify a regional self-government agreement. While there are some expanded powers and new resources for communities, the Agreement is founded on outdated federal policies.

G’ganoonigonaa Zaagigan | The Lake Is Speaking To Us: Nuclear Waste in Saugeen Ojibway Nation Territory?

On January 31st, 2020, the members of the Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) will vote on a proposal for a Deep Geological Repository near Lake Huron that will store 200,000m3 of low and intermediate level nuclear waste. Authors of this brief call for a process that goes beyond FPIC principles and engages an Anishinaabe version of consent that fully considers the current and future impacts of this decision.

The Rise of the Anishinabek Nation: Self-Government for the Status Quo?

In February 2019 Anishinaabeg communities in Ontario will vote to ratify a regional self-government agreement. While there are some expanded powers and new resources for communities, the Agreement is founded on outdated federal policies.

The Data Pandemic, Zombie Voters and First Nation Governance

During the latest Six Nations of the Grand River band council election, on-line voting was used for the first time, It was discovered that deceased citizens ‘participated’ in voting, leading to the questions explored in this brief around the intersection of citizenship, data and governance.

Research, Ethnic Fraud, and the Academy: A Protocol for Working with Indigenous Communities and Peoples

Today, major research funding agencies, such as the federal Tri-Council, have set aside historic funding levels for Indigenous-related research, which is cause for optimism. But there are also many reasons to be cautious. This brief includes a proposal for a Protocol for Working with Indigenous Communities so that the broader research community might begin to seriously examine the role of identity and identity fraud.

The Green New Deal in Canada: Challenges for Indigenous Participation

As we move through another colonial election year at the federal level, there is one arena that challenges most politicians: climate change and what we do about it. While the core tenets of the Green New Deal outline the dramatic change required to tackle this crisis, we must proceed with caution. In its ongoing creation, the GND coalition needs to ensure the inclusion and consent of Indigenous and racialized communities.

The Anishinabek Nation Governance Agreement: A Pre-Ratification Review

Before year’s end, Canada and the Anishinabek Nation are seeking to conclude almost 25 years of negotiations for a self-government agreement. But does the self-government agreement really deliver on the promised return to nationhood? This Brief considers the content of the draft agreement and whether it provides real alternatives to the Indian Act and self-government policy.

AFN Election 2018

The Assembly of First Nations annual general assembly will be held in Vancouver from July 24 – 26, with the election of a new National Chief scheduled to occur on Wednesday, July 25. Here is an overview of all the candidates

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