The movement to create a National Indigenous Guardians Network gained new ground today when the government of Canada included an initial investment of $25 million over 5 years in the 2017-2018 federal budget....
Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is supporting a greater role for First Nations in creating new protected areas and managing the ones Canada already has.
Speaking Friday at a parks conference in Banff, Alta., McKenna said Indigenous protected areas will be one way Canada meets its international goal of conserving 17 per cent of its land by 2020.
When Canada created its national parks system beginning in 1885, it forced out Indigenous peoples in the name of conservation and tourism.
Now some Indigenous leaders see the same parks they were excluded from—visited by more than 14 million people in 2015/16—as places where reconciliation can take root.
Giving Indigenous people a greater say in the operation of national parks and the creation of new protected areas is on the agenda at a major conference in Alberta this week.
First Nations leaders and officials from the federal and provincial governments will review proposals that could give more legal weight to protected areas designated by bands, said Steve Nitah, a delegate to the Canadian Parks Conference being held over four days starting Wednesday in Banff.
When it comes to protecting the land, water, flora, and fauna around mining operations, companies use a wide range of tools, technologies, and expertise. Increasingly, that expertise comes in the form of traditional knowledge from local indigenous communities. But innovative solutions are needed to enable communities to contribute on a larger scale.
One year ago this month, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its final report. Its pages described the anguish caused by residential schools and the gaps remaining between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in terms of education and prosperity. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau praised the report, saying “This is a time of real and positive change.
(Also appeared in The Hill Times)
A resource monitoring program already adopted by Indigenous governments in Labrador may be expanded across Canada if a proposal to the federal government is accepted.
The non-profit Indigenous Leadership Initiative wants the federal Liberals to fund a national network of Indigenous guardians to monitor resources both on the land and water.
Steve Nitah discussess the success of the Guardian program in Lutselk’e, including what it is doing for youth, how it’s helping the environment, and how it has been a beneficial program for his community.