Environment: Background Content

Indigenous Alliances

July 11, 2022


Catalyzing Action – Indigenous clean energy leaders gather for the first time on Inuit land in Iqaluit, NU for the 20/20 Catalysts Program

NationTalk: IQALUIT, NU – For the first time in program history, Indigenous Clean Energy (ICE) Social Enterprise’s flagship capacity-building program, the 20/20 Catalysts Program, is honoured to be hosting the program’s second onsite in Iqaluit, NU on July 10-17, 2022.

“Indigenous Clean Energy is grateful for the partnerships we hold with Qikiqtaaluk Business Development Corporation (QBDC), Nunavut Nukkiksautiit Corporation (NNC), Tarquiti and Kuujjuamiut that are graciously hosting us on Inuit land for the first time in the program’s history. It is an honour to be here and witness communities leading the way on diesel reduction” – Eryn Stewart, Managing Director, Indigenous Clean Energy.

ICE is proud to partner with Qikiqtaaluk Business Development Corporation (QBDC) and Nunavut Nukkiksautiit Corporation to provide the onsite tours of various clean energy projects they have underway. They will also co-host a reception on July 13, 2022, while in Iqaluit, NU.

“We are pleased to play a small role in supporting the 20/20 Catalysts event and wish to extend a warm welcome to attendees from across the country. Having had the opportunity to participate as a Catalyst in the program’s inaugural year, I can attest to the value of the 20/20 Catalysts Program and the remarkable advancement of Indigenous-led clean energy projects throughout twelve of Canada’s Provincial and Territorial jurisdictions.

While we trust the Catalysts will find their visit to Nunavut insightful, we also hope that their presence will inspire the Government of Nunavut and its Utility to become Canada’s thirteenth jurisdiction to realize the benefits of Indigenous partnerships and make an expeditious and serious commitment to achieving a significant reduction in diesel dependency in every community in Nunavut.”  – Sheldon Nimchuk, Director Project Development & Partnerships, Qikiqtaaluk Business Development Corporation.

Additionally, during the onsite, Catalysts will have the opportunity to spend the day in Nunavik, QC, thanks to the support from ICE’s partners, Tarquti Energy Corporation and Kuujjuamiut Corporation, who will be hosting the 20/20 Catalysts on a trip to Kuujjuaq, Nunavik. Tarquti Energy Corporation and Kuujjuamiut Corporation will provide tours of various clean energy projects and facilities. Participants will have a chance to hear from former 20/20 Catalysts, Jason Aitchison and Tiivi Dupius, as well as a presentation and discussion with Inuk Climate Change Activist, Sheila Watt-Cloutier.

“As Nunavik’s leading clean energy developer, Tarquti is proud to be hosting the [20/20 Catalysts program] alongside Kuujjuamiut Society. We believe that supporting each other and building local capacity in all Inuit, and Indigenous communities is the best way forward. We share the same goals: to put an end to the reliance on diesel-powered energy in our region, and we are honoured to work together with [ICE] to see those goals achieved.” – Janice Grey, Community Engagement and Communications Manager, Tarquti Energy Corporation.

The 20/20 Catalysts program has equipped over 100 Indigenous Peoples from across Canada to move clean energy projects forward. A first-of-its-kind capacity development initiative, the 20/20 Catalysts Program is delivered by Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities and technical mentors who are experienced and knowledgeable in transitioning to renewable energy. The program includes experiential learning, including energy efficiency and conservation, policy and infrastructure development, advanced energy systems, and large renewable energy projects.

Taking place from May to August this year, the 20/20 Catalysts Program is led by 35+ of the most knowledgeable and experienced Indigenous leaders and clean energy practitioners from coast-to-coast.

ICE will also host a reception in Iqaluit, NU, on July 13, 2022, at 6:30 p.m. ET. Join the 20/20 Catalysts team for a night full of food, drinks, and networking. Learn more about the Catalyst program, meet the 2020-22 Catalyst cohort, and discover how Indigenous communities are advancing an Indigenous-led clean energy future. There are a limited number of spots available, so please contact Justice Morningstar at jmorngingstar@indigenouscleanenergy.com to attend.

The next onsite will take place in Alton, ON on August 14-19, 2022.

To learn more about the 20/20 Catalyst Program, visit www.indigenouscleanenergy.com/2020-catalysts-program/


Justice Morningstar, 20/20 Catalysts Program Manager

Sydney Howard, Communications Manager

About ICE

Indigenous Clean Energy Social Enterprise (ICE) is an independent, Indigenous-governed, non-profit organization. ICE is the national hub advancing Indigenous and broader sustainable prosperity by supporting First Nation, Inuit, and Métis clean energy participation in every region of Canada.

About QBDC

Qikiqtaaluk Business Development Corporation (QBDC) was created to stimulate local and regional economic development opportunities. We work to build prosperous, more self-sufficient communities; we cultivate strategic partnerships in order to build essential infrastructure, we advance new and innovative solutions to enhance economic development, and we leverage third-party investments to support communities in advancing their visions.

January 1, 2018

Global Indigenous Council

“Founded by a resolution of the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association, the Global Indigenous Council (GIC) has members from the Americas to Australasia.
“GIC’s mission includes membership, representation and participation for all tribal nations in the four hemispheres. The challenges, crises, and legacy of colonial conquest are not unique to the Americas. Throughout Europe, Africa, Asia, Australasia and Oceania, the experience of indigenous peoples replicates ours.

A purpose of GIC is to bring unity, re-establish ancient relationships, develop new alliances, exchange knowledge, and find commonality in our shared purpose of vision and strength for our future generations.”
Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Association Resolution. January 2018.

April 20, 2023


Nature Conservancy of Canada buys P.E.I. island to give to Mi’kmaq

‘When we work together is when we can create really magical things’

Kwesawe’k, or Oulton's Island, in Cascumpec Bay near Alberton. This is a drone image of the island from above.
‘It’s just a really magical place,’ says Lanna Campbell, the Nature Conservancy of Canada program director.(Stephen DesRoches/NCC)

CBC News: The Nature Conservancy of Canada has officially purchased an island off Western P.E.I. with the intention to transfer it to the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils four years from now.

It’s called Kwesawe’k (pronounced gweh-sah-wehk), and is also known as Oulton’s Island. The 85-hectare land mass is located near Alberton in Cascumpec Bay.  “This is a huge, huge thing for the Mi’kmaq people,” said Lennox Island First Nation Chief Darlene Bernard, who is also the council’s co-chair. “It’s reconciliation in action.”

The total project budget to purchase the island was a little over $1.3 million. It’s home to colonies of great blue herons and double-crested cormorants, as well as bald eagles and squirrels, according to the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC).  

Chief Darlene Bernard in the meeting room at the Lennox Island First Nation band office. She is smiling for the photo with long brown hair, a brown sweater and a white shirt under.
‘We do a lot of talking about it but here’s the action,’ says Chief Darlene Bernard of reconciliation. ‘Here is a solid action that happened and land is going to be given back to the the Mi’kmaq people.’ (Jane Robertson/CBC)

“We have learned that it is of great cultural significance to the P.E.I. Mi’kmaq,” said Lanna Campbell, the program director. “We thought, ‘Well, if we can conserve this island, it should not be part of NCC’s portfolio — we should transfer ownership for their care and stewardship.’ “That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to fully transfer it over.”

But that won’t happen for a few years yet.  “We’re just really happy today to be announcing that we’ve met phase one of our goal, which was to make sure the island was purchased and protected,” said Campbell.

‘Great things will happen together’

Now, it’s on to phase two — conserving the land together with the Mi’kmaq living on Abegweit. “It’s been really wonderful to learn from each other,” said Campbell.

This map shows the location of Kwesawe'k, or Oulton's Island, just off P.E.I.
This map shows the location of Kwesawe’k, or Oulton’s Island, just off P.E.I. (Submitted by the Nature Conservancy of Canada)

In this case, that means learning some of the environmental principles important to the Indigenous community. 

Example of those concepts are netukulimk, meaning “only take what you need,” and etuaptmumk, meaning “two-eyed seeing,” which looks at ways to combine traditional and western strengths.  “We have a shared history … a lot of bad things happened,” said Bernard. “But by working together, moving forward and respecting the First Nations, a lot of great things will happen together.” 

“Chiefs or elders and knowledge keepers, they say that there is no reconciliation without land back. So here we are having land back.” 

An aerial view of a small island covered in forest and ringed with beach, surrounded by blue water, with a sand dune behind it.
‘We’ll just sort of care for the island together in this phase two,’ says Campbell. ‘We’ll hopefully have another celebration in a couple years when we fully transfer the island.’ (Mike Dembeck/NCC)

While it’s a step forward in reconciliation, Bernard said there is still more work to do. “We’re at the cusp of something new, a new age, a new time, but we do have to make sure we’re doing it right and slowing it down a little bit and making sure everybody’s voices are heard,” she said. 

‘I would be in tears’

As for Campbell, she hopes this inspires other organizations in the country to take similar action.  “Nature needs us to work in partnership,” said Campbell.  “Nature doesn’t need us to sort of be waving our own flags and that. When we work together is when we can create really magical things.” 

And come 2027, Bernard said having the land transferred to the Epekwitk Assembly of Councils will be a moment she thinks would make her ancestors proud.  “If I am blessed to be there, I’m sure I would be in tears — tears of joy,” she said.  “It’s a great friggin’ day.”

Sheehan Desjardins ·

May 4, 2017

Nunavut Environmental Initiatives

A New Shared Arctic Leadership Model – May 4, 2017
Nunavut, Greenland
40 recommendations to the federal government on how to shape sustainable and healthy northern communities with a major focus on education, infrastructure and conservation including the Inuit Council Canada-led Pikialasorsuaq Commission, which has called for the biologically-rich North Water polynya between Canada and Greenland to become an indigenous Protected Are and an Inuit-managed region

Agreement on Enhancing International Arctic Scientific Cooperation – May 11, 2017
Arctic Council: Canada, United States, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland
Seeks to enhance circumpolar cooperation in scientific activities to advance scientific knowledge of the Arctic.
The Agreement will improve the current sharing of scientific data and facilitate the movement of people, samples and equipment across borders for the purpose of conducting research, while encouraging the use of traditional and local knowledge that benefits Northerners

September 23, 2016

The Grizzly: A Treaty of Cooperation, Cultural Revitalization and Restoration

An Indigenous Treaty spearheaded by the Piikani Nation in Alberta which now also counts over 130 signatory First Nations and Tribes from across the continent. The leaders present at the ceremony today pledged to work together to safeguard the sacred Grizzly Bear and combat the recent move by the Trump administration to delist the grizzly of Greater Yellowstone from the Endangered Species Act.

Since September 23, 2016, some 170 Tribal Nations have signed this document of inter-tribal solidarity, only the third of its kind in 150-years. In terms of representation, with leaders from the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), it translates to over 700 Tribal Nations.

July 4, 2017

Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion

Signed by an assembly of Tribal leaders of the Great Sioux Nation along with leaders of the Ponca Nation in Nebraska and Oklahoma with a large delegation of Chiefs of First Nations from Canada. The tribal leaders and chiefs sent a clear message on this July 4th US “Independence Day” about their independence as Sovereign Indigenous Nations and to announce a new cross-border alliance to stop the Keystone XL pipeline. After the signing today of the 10 Tribes and First Nations from the Great Sioux Nation, Ponca Nation and Blackfoot Confederacy, now counts over 130 First Nations and Tribes who have signed the Indigenous Treaty barring the passage of each of the four pipelines that the Tar Sands industry of Alberta is hoping to build in order to expand production: TransCanada’s Keystone XL, Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline through Minnesota, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion through British Columbia and TransCanada’s Energy East.

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