11. Indigenous dialogues

In November 2002, Parliament passed the Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (NFWA). It required the major owners of used nuclear fuel in Canada to establish the NWMO. The initial phase of our mandate was to study approaches for the safe, long-term management of used nuclear fuel, and to recommend a preferred approach to the Government of Canada. The historical information about one part of that process is preserved here in line with our commitment to transparency.


    The overall goal of the NWMO Indigenous Dialogue is to create the needed foundation for a long-term, positive relationship between the Nuclear Waste Management Organization and the Indigenous Peoples of Canada.

    Specific Objectives are:

    1. To build effective working relationships with the national Indigenous organizations by supporting and working with them as they conduct their dialogue processes on the long-term management of used nuclear fuel; and integrating the results of their work into the NWMO deliberations;
    2. To build effective working relationships at the local and regional scale by supporting and facilitating local dialogue processes should they be desired and in a way that is coordinated with activities being led by the national organizations;
    3. To generate specific commentary from an Indigenous perspective on the deliberations of the NWMO as summarized in the three milestone discussion documents: (1) Asking the Right Questions? - Fall, 2003; (2) Understanding the Choices - September, 2004; and (3) Choosing a Way Forward - Draft Final Report - Spring, 2005 within a time frame that ensures Indigenous ideas, insights, wisdom and values are factored into the final NWMO recommendation to government;
    4. To document the input of Indigenous peoples to the NWMO deliberations as a means of ensuring: (1) that Indigenous ideas, insights, wisdom and values have contributed to the development of the NWMO's final recommendation to government; (2) that they are available over the long term as part of the foundation needed for continuous learning.

    As reports of those dialogues are made available, they will be posted here.

    11.1 National Organizations

    11.1a Assembly of First Nations (AFN)

    11.1e Native Women's Associaton of Canada (NWAC)

    Through 2008 and 2009, a project was developed with the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) to promote the meaningful and constructive input of Indigenous women in the implementation of Adaptive Phased Management. Through the NWAC Environmental Roundtable a “toolkit” was developed to facilitate involvement of Indigenous women in engaging on community issues in their role as stewards of the environment and in, particular, in discussions on nuclear waste management. The toolkit “Finding Your Voice: Environmental Toolkit for Aboriginal Women” was developed for NWAC through graduate students in environmental studies at Dalhousie University with guidance from NWAC and support from the NWMO.

    11.2 Local / Regional Organizations

    11.2b Eabametoong First Nation, Fort Hope, Ontario

    11.2d Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations

    11.3 Elders Forum

    Throughout the Indigenous Dialogue there has been a consistent call to bring Indigenous Traditional Knowledge to bear as an equal partner to "western science". Early on in its process, the NWMO convened a Traditional Knowledge Workshop from which emerged a set of insights that informed early activities of the NWMO.

    The process of bringing Indigenous Elders and their knowledge into deliberations is recognized to be a long-term and continuous one. As one step in this continuing process, the NWMO  convened an Elders' Forum in Ottawa, August 25 - 27, 2005. The results of the Forum are summarized in this report

    11.5 NWMO Reports

    Building Relationship, prepared by the NWMO, is intended to provide a summary of the programs supported by NWMO and run by local, national or regional organizations. Visitors to this website are encouraged to view the individual reports provided to the NWMO by Indigenous organizations, all of which are published on this website.

    A summary of Choosing a Way Forward has been translated into several Indigenous languages. These translations are available below.

    Explore the Study

    After a comprehensive three-year study, engaging specialists and citizens from all walks of life, the NWMO recommended Adaptive Phased Management for the long-term care of Canada’s used nuclear fuel.

    All the specialists and dialogue reports and the analysis supporting the NWMO recommendation are available here for review.

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    The Study

    Dialogue reports

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    Dialogue reports

    12. Public attitude research