Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas Gathering, October 2018

Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas Gathering, October 2018


ALBERT JOSEPH (Ktunaxa Nation): Everything is spirit and whatever we do we do also to spirit. NORMA KASSI (Arctic Institute of Community Based Research): This land does not belong to us. It belongs to the creator and it belongs to the species. We are not a higher being than they are. DR. REG CROWSHOE (Piikani Nation): Creation was all equal. I’m not better than the buffalo or the rock. We’re equal so that equality happens through creation. So, when I look at protection conservation, then I’m starting to look at it from that perspective of being a part of the environment. ELI ENNS (Tla-o-qui-aht Nation): Our long-term vision is for Canada to become a leader in the global community in regards to Euro-indigenous collaboration around a really innovative leading edge model of biodiversity conservation. SCOTT JONES (Alberta Parks): And now today, and yesterday, we’re here in Canmore talking with Indigenous people from across Canada about how we can take the lessons, the teachings in the ICE (?) report and apply it to real situations. GRANT HOGG (Canadian Wildlife Service): And we found that when we have the federal government, the provincial government, municipal governments, indigenous governments, indigenous people, non-profits and others, working together for a common cause and establishing protected and conserved areas or Indigenous Protected and conserved areas, the result is very promising and bright. ELI ENNS: The October IPCA gathering is by indigenous peoples and for indigenous peoples. It’s a unique period in Canadian history where First Nations, Inuit and Métis’ roles and responsibilities in conservation is finally being recognized. And so, the gathering itself is being facilitated in ethical space. The gathering opens with the smudging and the opening prayer recognizing the Treaty 7 Nakoda territory that we’re on. The sessions are designed and facilitated by indigenous peoples and in partnership with our folks at CWS and the Province of Alberta and others to ensure that we honour ethical space throughout. JANET SUMNER (Wildlands League): But we really have to get everybody moving on this and have the respect that it is cross-cultural, and that probably will take a little bit of time. But we need to encourage that. And that’s one of the things I like about the national nature fund is that it is going to encourage projects being brought forward, if you will, almost from a bottom up perspective where indigenous peoples, whether Métis or First Nations can bring forward a project and say, this is something that we would like. It allows them to make a declaration and seek a response from the other side or the other government and create that cross-cultural learning and showcase it and build broader coalitions of support. ELI ENNS: You’ve got to continue to walk the talk of ethical space. So, we’ve been developing this solution bundle which is a marriage between a Western science toolkit and an Indigenous knowledge systems medicine bundle. And really what the solutions bundle is coming to be is a systems interface between two different world views to interact in an equitable, ethical way. The Indigenous Pathways Co-operative Alliance met in caucus for the first day and a half of the October IPCA gathering. That includes First Nations, you know, the Assembly of First Nations as well in an advocacy role as a national Indigenous organization on behalf of its 630-odd members. The Métis National Council of Canada. We have a strong contingent of Métis at the gathering and in caucus and the Indigenous Leadership Initiative as well – Val Courtois and several others from ILI were here to engage with the Indigenous Pathways Co-operative Alliance in the gathering on the whole, as well as the core members of the Indigenous Circle of Experts, plus several of the Indigenous members from the National Advisory Panel. WILL GOODON (Métis National Council): I think that the motivation of everyone is good. We just need to figure out how we work with each other. And the federal government or other jurisdictions working with First Nations, working with Inuit, working with the Métis Nation; we all have our own processes. We all have our own governance structures. We all have our own cultures and ideas and languages, and the way we use the land is just a little bit different. We’re not the same from the coast of British Columbia to the Atlantic Ocean where… to the Arctic Ocean, we all have our own ways
of doing things. So, I think that is respected. I feel that. Now I have talked a lot about capacity and
that’s something that we need in order to generate those ideas to make sure that our
backyards are looked after. NORMA KASSI: When we talk Indigenous Protected
Areas, I mean, I envision our own people running beautiful places within our regions, teaching
our culture to others to respect and to work together and to… and share our traditional
foods like we always do, and to share our indigenous knowledge so that they can survive
into the future along with us as well. WILLIAM SNOW (Stoney Tribal Administration):
And one of our teachings is, water is life. And so, I’ve been encouraging people here
at the gathering to go out and see the headwaters to know where the water comes from. There’s a large connection here that we don’t
normally see, and we’re cut off by boundaries and other restrictions, so we don’t really
see the whole picture. And one of the reasons why we wanted to have
the meeting here in Canmore was so that people would have some appreciation of that. Not only the Bow River but, you know, the
north sas-qui Athabasca, the Fraser River, Mackenzie. Like… this is it. This is where water flows to the rest of the continent. This is how important this area is. SHAELYN WABEGIJG (Plenty Canada): And IPCA,
what distinguishes it from the other protected areas and conserved areas is the Indigenous
inclusion and leadership. So, they’re important for many different reasons. The first that I can think of is for resurgence
of Indigenous governance, indigenous cultures and languages, and access to that land. The biggest thing is reconnecting to our relationship
with the land. And that in turn will reconnect us to our
culture, to our identity as Indigenous Peoples throughout Canada. LORNE JOHNSON (Schad Foundation): Reality
is, in this country, in this day and age, you’re not going to get stuff done. You’re not going to conserve biodiversity. In huge swaths of Canada you’re not going
to turn species around from the declines they are in unless you have indigenous support,
and they’re at the table and, in effect, often they’re driving or co-driving what’s
happening. VAL COURTOIS (Indigenous Leadership Initiative):
I see those existing land use plans and some of the existing tribal parks and other kind
of products that have been developed by Indigenous nations as worthy of recognition. And I often hear in our travels and work with
different nations that the nations are doing this not just for themselves but for everybody. There is, you know, that cultural responsibility
to land isn’t just personal, it’s about being good for the good of humanity. And so, I think that there’s space there for
partnership and recognition and reconciliation. LARRY MCDERMOTT (Plenty Canada): So that healing;
that reconciliation between us as peoples is essential to not only objectives associated with justice, but it’s only then that we can talk to each other. It’s only then that we can take 10,000 years
of baseline data on how to live on this land and bring that, and work together to heal
ourselves and the land. They’re interconnected. NORMA KASSI: We’ve been trying to protect
this earth for thousands of years. So just, you know, walk with us. We walk… let’s walk together. You know, we can do this.

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