Federal Court Judge Comments on Land Acknowledgments, Indigenous Consultation, and Two-eyed Seeing

Statement on behalf of Sierra Club Canada Foundation, EcoJustice, World Wildlife Fund Canada, and Ecology Action Centre:

Our organizations are committed to the work of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and Nations in Canada. 

We recognize that Indigenous peoples face barriers within the legal system, an extension of the systemic racism which permeates Canada’s public institutions. As predominantly settler organizations, it is incumbent on us to name and address systemic inequities and biases that disproportionately harm Indigenous peoples and communities. 

It is essential to dismantle the white colonial privilege that exists within the legal profession and the administration of justice in Canada. This work is critical to building a more accessible justice system — one that is free of arbitrary barriers created by prejudice and white privilege, and trusted by all people in Canada. 

In this context, we strongly disagree with the negative comments from the bench about the guiding principle of Etuaptmumk found in Mi’kmaq Knowledge, referred to in English as “Two-Eyed Seeing.” These comments were made during the hearing of SCCF, WWF and EAC v. Canada on May 26, 2021. We recognize and respect the valuable insights that come from application of Two-eyed seeing to important environmental and social issues.   

We do not consider it appropriate to comment further while this litigation remains under consideration by the Federal Court.

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