Twin River Consulting Ethical Standards ‐ Updated July 20, 2021
Twin River Consulting and Fish Creek Consulting have developed standards of
research and relationship terms with Indigenous clients through the experiences of
producing studies, both academic and commercial, reports, recommendations and
courses, providing advice and assisting with negotiations. These standards are
described below:

  1. The issue of objectivity and bias and the interests of the Indigenous

    Twin River Consulting performs studies and conducts negotiations, meetings,
    interviews and discussions on behalf of clients and in cooperation with governments,
    private companies, universities and other independent organizations. During these
    processes Twin River is sometimes asked to produce “objective research” or research of
    an academic standard. It is our view that these external standards should not impose
    conditions which infringe upon the rights and self‐determination of the Indigenous
    group. In our experience conditions imposed upon studies have included demands that
    contractors be chosen based on lowest price or some other commercial standard
    deemed fair. In these cases, we have refused to use this standard as the sole criterion.
    Recording Indigenous culture and land use requires understanding of the values and
    objectives of the people. It requires a sensitivity to their spirituality and history. Using
    the lowest cost consultant turned out to be an attempt at government or industry to
    manipulate the choice of consultant so as to bias the potential results of the studies
    towards a settler perspective.

    “Objective” research sometimes denies Indigenous traditions. Twin River Consultants
    defends spiritual values and indigenous ways of knowing as well as Indigenous thought

    So, the primary goal of our firm is to present the values and sentiments of our
    Indigenous clients in a manner that is sensitive and true to their culture even if it is
    inconsistent with some “objective” approach suggested by settler standards.

    However, bias can come from both sides. At one point we were asked to emphasize or
    change the methodology of a study to focus on an area which was economically more
    valuable but was not frequented by Indigenous activities as much as other areas of
    their traditional territory. Such a request is, in our, view unethical.

    We are dedicated to presenting the information that we collect in a fair and truthful
    manner using sampling standards and approaches and attitudes which are as unbiased
    as possible, but we are aware that we are all products of our environment and carry
    sometimes misunderstood bias. We work to understand, identify and adjust for our

    In many cases our task is to use traditional knowledge and experience to help define
    and identify Aboriginal and Indigenous rights. In these cases, Indigenous values must be
    used to identify their preferences and objectives. The nature of Aboriginal rights
    demands that such values are defined. This approach is based upon the uneasy
    historical relationship between Indigenous culture and settler society. It is based upon
    the fact that when European Peoples arrived on “Turtle Island” the Indigenous
    communities were already here living in independent, self‐sufficient groups with their
    own languages, cultures, values and in complete societies.

    This is the basic condition which underpins the legal and social relationship between
    Indigenous Peoples and Settler Society. When European nations asserted their
    sovereignty on Turtle Island, they denied the then existing sovereignty of these
    Indigenous nations. They then went on to deny their religions, their culture, languages
    and laws in many cases they attempted to entirely wipe out their entire culture if not
    promote total genocide.

    Both international law and natural law, as reflected in informed common law, rejects all
    genocidal activities whether physical, spiritual or cultural and respect the underlying
    sovereignty of the original societies.

    Twin River Consulting had dedicated its work to assisting Indigenous Peoples in
    identifying any of these infringements upon their societies, cultures, languages and

    Further, we are often asked to help define Aboriginal Rights under the Canadian
    Constitution. These rights are based upon the pre‐contact and original adapted
    practices of these peoples. The Crown of Great Britain identified certain of these
    principles in the Proclamation of 1763, and further acknowledgement of the
    responsibilities is emphasized in the doctrine of the honour of the Crown, which
    essentially places the Crown in a broad fiduciary position with respect to protecting
    Aboriginal and Indigenous rights.

    Twin River has worked and will continue to work in an informed manner identifying
    Aboriginal and Indigenous (Including Treaty) rights and ensure the studies are
    supported and informed by this knowledge.

  2. Aboriginal Title to Their Knowledge and Culture and Protective

    Indigenous cultures have been exploited not only for their labour, their lands and
    resources but for their unprotected knowledge of herbs, practices and understandings
    which they willingly shared with those who used legal systems to steal their Intellectual
    Property. This violation of rights has also arisen in misused land use studies and data,
    stolen herbal medicines and other thefts of Indigenous Intellectual Property in Canada.
    Twin River Consulting and Fish Creek Consulting have worked to protect this knowledge
    for their Indigenous clients.

    In the development of projects, an industrial proponent will provide funding to
    produce evidence for license applications and permits to operate. A frequent procedure
    has been to hire a consultant to produce a favourable report on behalf of the proponent
    of an industrial project that may infringe upon Aboriginal rights. The biases from such
    reports have been rampant including poor data collection, violation of knowledge rights,
    biased questions, inappropriate manipulation of data, etc. When traditional land use
    studies are complete, they must include analysis of the nature of the uses of traditional
    lands and refrain from providing raw data which could be used and re‐purposed to
    support alternative conclusions. The data is subject to the knowledge and
    understandings of the Elders and land users and must not be manipulated by project

    Avoiding any conflict of interests and avoiding the temptation of a government or
    industrial firm to wittingly or unwittingly bias a report, Twin River Consulting has
    made the decision only to work for Indigenous groups and will not accept contracts
    from private industrial firms or directly from governments. Twin River Consulting will
    work with university or academic organizations if the work conforms to these ethical
    principles enclosed.

    Note that bias can also be created by negative funding decisions. In preparing a
    report for presentation to the National Energy Board, Twin River Consulting committed
    to prepare a preliminary report, but we told them a full report would be needed
    because the preliminary report would only be for the purposes of qualification and
    identification that the nation would be prima facia infringed upon. A preliminary report
    of that nature could not define the degree of infringement. The NEB did not supply the
    funding to do the full report and the consultation process debate eventually went to the
    Supreme Court of Canada who ruled that sufficient consultation had been done by the
    NEB because they commissioned a traditional land use study. The NEB failed to
    complete the requested study and supplied inadequate information on the impacts to
    the courts.

  3. Consent Forms, IP, Interview Discretion
    Twin River is dedicated to ensuring that traditional knowledge is protected, and
    ownership is safely credited to the Elder, land user and/ or the First Nation or
    Indigenous Group. This is normally done by preparing and signing a consent form for
    every interview which states that the results, videos, tapes and transcripts are the
    property of the interviewee or designated descendant or nation.

    This process also demands that the interviewee understands the purpose and use
    intended for the information and that they accept that the information be used in that
    manner subject to their right to recall the information if they subsequently wish to take
    possession of those materials and stop their use by the Band or consultant.

    In addition, the materials are kept confidential by Twin River Consulting except when
    approved quotations are extracted or locations are disclosed on maps or harvest sites
    are located. This allows the interviewer to confidently explain more delicate or private
    matters which may be important but should be kept private. Sometimes videos will be
    turned off during an interview and special private notes may be required. It is
    important to keep peace within the First Nation or aboriginal group and some issues are

    Summary Conclusion
    Twin River Consulting works in the interests of the Indigenous group, which means
    that we do not presuppose or define those interests based upon our values but look to
    the First Nation individuals and Chief and Council to define them. It is sometimes a
    fine line when dealing with defining values, so it is important to continue to reflect on
    the process and remain informed and vigilant in an ethical approach to our studies,
    reports and advice.