A Comparative Study of Traditional Resource Management and National Legal Systems in North America and the Philippines

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This study explores traditional resource management rights of indigenous peoples and how these are addressed by the Canadian, U.S. and Philippine national legal systems. It also situates developments in the recognition of indigenous resource rights within international concerns for the environment. The study is written from a Philippine perspective, describing the dichotomy between customary law about natural resources and some western law concepts shared with North American peoples. Environmental laws and policies are compared to determine the relative status of Philippine indigenous peoples. Jurisprudence, administrative policies, and legislation in these countries are reviewed as they address the issue of indigenous resource rights. Three landmark cases (R. v. Sparrow (Canada), U.S. v. Washington (U.S.), Carino v. Insular Government (Phil.)) are selected and discussed. Examples of resource management agreements involving indigenous peoples are also mentioned, with a more detailed description of the Buhid community forest stewardship agreement with the Philippine government. Finally, the devastated ancestral domain of the Aeta on Mt. Pinatubo is examined--an ecological disaster, which if a constructive response follows, represents an opportunity for the Philippines to effectively accord recognition to self-determination towards sustainable development.


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