February 23, 2022
Other Indigenous Protected Areas
Three IPCAs have been established since 2018: Ts’udé Nilįné Tueyata, Edéhzhíe, and Thaidene Nëné in the Northwest Territories. The Indigenous Leadership Initiative served as partners in these projects. We also work with 23 of the 27 Nations whose proposals received support from the federal Nature Fund, a $175 million investment in creating new protected areas.
July 10, 2005
The Edéhzhíe Protected Area
Funding for the establishment and management of the Indigenous protected area over the first few years will be provided by the Canada Nature Fund. Budget 2018 set aside a $500 million investment to create a $1 billion nature fund in partnership with corporate, not-for-profit, provincial, territorial, and other partners.
The Edéhzhíe Protected Area is the first Indigenous protected area designated in Canada under Budget 2018’s Nature Legacy, and it is an important step toward reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Support for Indigenous protected areas was a key recommendation of the Indigenous Circle of Experts’ report (PDF) released in March 2018 and a commitment made in Budget 2018. Protection of this area was achieved through a collaborative process between the Dehcho First Nations and the Government of Canada.
This new protection will ensure that the relationships between the Dehcho Dene peoples and the lands of Edéhzhíe are maintained for present and future generations. The Indigenous protected area will encourage Dehcho Dene presence on the land and continuance of language, harvesting, and other aspects of Dehcho Dene culture. Furthermore, the lands that make up the Edéhzhíe Protected Area will make a significant contribution to Canada’s international commitment to protecting 17 per cent of land and fresh water by 2020. The Edéhzhíe Protected Area is 14,218 square kilometres, covering an area more than twice the size of Banff National Park.
Environment and Climate Change Canada is also working in collaboration with the Dehcho First Nations to formally designate the area as a national wildlife area by 2020. Establishing Edéhzhíe as a national wildlife area will complement the objectives of the Indigenous protected area by providing additional protection and stewardship measures. By joining the national network of national wildlife areas, Edéhzhíe will have even greater support to achieve results for the conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat.
A key part of the establishment of Edéhzhíe is the expansion of Dehcho K’éhodi. The Dehcho K’éhodi Stewardship Program is a regional on-the-land program for stewardship activities. Dehcho K’éhodi means “taking care of the Dehcho” in the language of the Dehcho Dene. Resourcing this program to operate in the protected area is a core element of the Edéhzhíe establishment agreement and an essential part of the Indigenous protected area management. The guardians will be responsible for much of the monitoring and management of Edéhzhíe.
The Dehcho K’éhodi will undertake on-the-land stewardship activities including patrols, research projects, and youth mentoring in the Indigenous protected area. Local Dene guardians will be the eyes and ears of Edéhzhíe. Along with Dene laws and values, their work will be guided by a management plan developed by the Edéhzhíe management board. The board will be made up of representatives from the Dehcho First Nations and Environment and Climate Change Canada, and it will make its decisions by consensus.
March 28, 2018
We Rise Together – Achieving Pathway to Canada Target 1
The Indigenous Circle of Experts (ICE) – was created as part of the Pathway to Canada Target 1 to develop a report providing advice to federal, provincial, territorial and Indigenous governments on how to achieve Canada Target 1 through the appropriate recognition of Indigenous leadership and knowledge systems in the conservation of the land and water. The release of the ICE Report is a watershed moment in both the history of conservation in Canada and the vital need for reconciliation between the conservation community and Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
The report recommends the development of Indigenous-led protected areas and advises governments on how they can meet commitments on global biodiversity targets. The report emphasizes the need for a paradigm shift in land use and conservation in Canada through changing the way conservation areas are created and managed, fundamentally shifting the principles underlying our conservation system and our place within nature. It goes further in calling for Crown governments to engage in reconciliation to address wrong-doings in the creation of past protected and conserved areas.
“We can help address our international commitments to protect biodiversity and to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) through a new way of thinking about conservation from an Indigenous perspective,” said Marilyn Baptiste, ICE member.
The recommendations include expanded and shared responsibilities between Indigenous and Crown governments for protected areas through recognition and support for Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs). IPCAs are the lands and waters where Indigenous governments have the primary role in conserving ecosystems through Indigenous laws, governance and knowledge systems.
ICE also outlines how governments can meet their global biodiversity targets subject to existing Treaties, Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution and other important agreements. These principles are part of the report’s ethical space which created a place for Indigenous and western knowledge systems to interact with mutual respect, kindness, generosity and other basic values.
Etuaptmumk: Two-eyed seeing refers to learning to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledges and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of western knowledges and ways of knowing—and learning to use both of these eyes together for the benefit of all.” Elder Albert Marshall of the Mi’kmaw Nation, Central Regional Gathering, June 2017