Principle 3: Indigenous Peoples’ Rights

Normative References

International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169(2009)

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007)

Convention on Biological Diversity – Article 8(j): Traditional Knowledge, Innovations and Practices

International Finance Corporation (IFC) Performance Standard 7 Indigenous Peoples and Performance Standard 8 Cultural Heritage


Identifying Indigenous Communities in North America

Federal and State Recognized Tribes

This state-by-state listing of Indian tribes or groups are federally recognized and eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) in the US, there are currently 574 federally recognized tribes. There are Indigneous communities in the US that are not recognized at the state or federal level, so operators must conduct their own additional research when determining if there are tribes near their area of operations.

U. S. Domestic Sovereign Nations: Land Areas of Federally-Recognized Tribes

The U.S. Domestic Sovereign Nations: Land Areas of Federally-recognized Tribes map (commonly referred to as Indian lands) gives the user the ability to zoom, change base maps, and identify tribal lands with the BIA Land Area Representation (LAR). The LAR depicts the external extent of Federal Indian reservations, land held in “trust” by the United States, “restricted fee” or “mixed ownership” tracts for Federally-recognized tribes and individual Indians.

First Nations in Canada

This database provides a list of all First Nations along with their location and contact information.

Métis Populations by Province

The government of Canada lists the number of Métis people by province and provides links to Métis organizations.

Map of Inuit Populations in Canada

This map provides the locations of Inuit communities and regions.


Free, Prior and Informed Consent

Amazon Watch – Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC): The Right to Decide (2011)
This briefing discusses the role of companies, investors and finance institutions in identifying and addressing the adverse human rights impacts of company operations on Indigenous Peoples.

Free, Prior, and Informed Consent in REDD+: Principles and Approaches for Policy and Project Development (2011)
This guide by RECOFTC – The Centre for People and Forests provides an extensive overview of the importance of FPIC and FPIC processes.

Guide to Free, Prior and Informed Consent (2010)
Published by Oxfam Australia, this guide provides a highly accessible introduction to FPIC designed to assist organizations that are supporting communities affected by large-scale development projects.

United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
The Forum is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council, with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, the environment, education, health and human rights.


Engagement & Participation

(See also the resources for Principle 2 under ‘Stakeholder Engagement’ above.)

UNDP and Indigenous Peoples: A Policy of Engagement (2001)
This research paper introduces guidelines and concrete measures on communal engagement. A brief introduction to the issues is followed by detailed information on why and how to engage with Indigenous Peoples.


Cultural Impacts

UNESCO – Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (1972)
This website includes the text of the Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, as well as downloadable versions in several languages.

UNESCO – Intangible Heritage
This UNESCO webpage provides relevant information on intangible cultural heritage, along with links with further information.


Voluntary Isolation

“The Dilemma of Contact: Voluntary Isolation and the Impacts of Gas Exploitation on Health and Rights in the Kugapakori Nahua Reserve, Peruvian Amazon” (2007)
This article by Dora A. Napolitano and Aliya S. S. Ryan from the journal Environmental Research Letters discusses the consequences of contact with Indigenous Peoples living in voluntary isolation by operators in the extractive industries in Peru.

Oil and Gas Projects in the Western Amazon: Threats to Wilderness, Biodiversity, and Indigenous Peoples (2008)
This research article by M. Finer et al. provides detailed insight into the environmental and social threats posed by oil and gas projects in the Amazon rainforest, focusing on FPIC, Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation and Strategic Environmental Assessments.

UN Draft Guidelines on the Protection of Indigenous Peoples in Voluntary Isolation and Initial Contact in the Amazon Basin and El Chaco (2009)
These Draft Guidelines provide background on Indigenous Peoples living in voluntary isolation, describes the legal framework for the protection of these peoples and sets forth principles and proposals for the development of public policies and programs of action regarding these Peoples.


Use of Traditional Natural Resources

Indigenous Peoples: Lands, Territories and Natural Resources
This backgrounder by the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues explores key issues with respect to Indigenous Peoples’ rights to own, manage and develop their traditional lands, territories and resources.

Indigenous and Tribal Peoples’ Rights over Their Ancestral Lands and Natural Resources: Norms and Jurisprudence of the Inter-American Human Rights System (2010)
This report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights provides an in-depth guide to Indigenous Peoples’ rights over their ancestral lands and natural resources with respect to the Inter-American Human Rights System, including sources of law, State obligations, the specific content of Indigenous property rights, rights over natural resources, and rights to consultation, participation, access to justice and reparations.


Culture-Based Intelligence

Integrating Indigenous Knowledge in Project Planning and Implementation (2000)
Developed through a partnership with the International Labour Organization, the World Bank, Kivu Nature Inc. and the Canadian International Development Agency, this handbook is designed to help governments, industry, nongovernmental organizations and Indigenous groups work better with each other when traditional knowledge is central to the development objective.

Gwich’in Traditional Knowledge Policy: Working with Gwich’in Traditional Knowledge in the Gwich’in Settlement Region (2004)
Drafted in preparation for increased oil and gas exploration and other development and research interests in the Gwich’in settlement region in Canada, this policy provides a comprehensive example of a traditional knowledge policy.

Indigenous Traditional Knowledge and Intellectual Property Rights (2004)
This report, prepared for the Parliament of Canada, surveys the intellectual property rights regime in relation to protecting indigenous traditional knowledge, as well as international initiatives to protect traditional knowledge.

Intellectual Property Issues in Cultural Heritage: Theory, Practice, Policy, Ethics
This research project is an international collaboration of archaeologists, Indigenous organizations, lawyers, anthropologists, ethicists, policy makers and others working to explore and facilitate fair and equitable exchanges of knowledge relating to archaeology. The project is concerned with the theoretical, ethical and practical implications of the commodification, appropriation and other flows of knowledge about the past, and how these may affect communities, researchers and other stakeholders.

Legislative Texts on the Protection of Traditional Knowledge
Compiled by the World Intellectual Property Organization, this webpage includes links to legislative texts protecting traditional knowledge, including constitutional law, special laws (sui generis laws), patent laws and regulatory frameworks for countries worldwide.