September 13, 2022
Pacheedaht First Nation and Teal Jones ink MOU creating engagement framework
First Nation, forestry firm adopt framework to facilitate dialogue, identify joint economic opportunities, and implement world class stewardship planning.
NationTalk: Canadian Forest Industries – The Pacheedaht First Nation and Teal Jones have signed a memorandum of uderstanding (MOU) creating a framework for engaging in dialogue to identify areas of joint opportunity for economic activities in balance with continued stewardship of and safeguard for the land and water.
The parties aim to identify specific forestry, business, commercial, and employment opportunities within the Nation’s traditional territories and pursue them through Joint Working Agreements. They will also develop a world class Integrated Resource Management Plan (IRMP) to ensure responsible stewardship of at-risk species and ecosystems within the Nation’s traditional territories now and for future generations.
“Since taking responsibility for managing Tree Farm Licence 46 in our territory in 2004 Teal Jones has consistently demonstrated respect for our rights and values,” says Pacheedaht First Nation Chief Jeff Jones. “The MOU will build upon our existing relationship and commits us to working together to identify and pursue business endeavors, create new employment and training opportunities for our community members, and to ensure our way of life and environment are protected for future generations through an IRMP.”
The MOU further affirms the parties’ commitment to continue collaborating on Teal Jones’ forest management plans on Tree Farm License 46; to pursue the creation of good jobs and training opportunities in forestry with Pacheedaht First Nation members; to recognize the integrity of forest resources, cultural heritage value, and the environment; and to jointly contribute to the long-term stability of the regional and local economy, particularly through forestry.
“This agreement makes us both stronger,” says Dick Jones, Teal Jones president and co-owner. “We have long believed businesses have a critical role to play in reconciliation with First Nations on whose traditional territories they work. This agreement reflects our commitment to the Pacheedaht people, and to working side-by-side with them to create lasting prosperity through responsible forestry.”
July 13, 2022
First Nations–Canada Joint Committee on Climate Action (JCCA) released its fourth annual report
NationTalk: Environment and Climate Change Canada – Today, in the spirit of partnership and in recognition of First Nations Climate Leadership, the First Nations–Canada Joint Committee on Climate Action (JCCA) released its fourth annual report to the Prime Minister and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. The JCCA provides a unique opportunity for federal and First Nations representatives to work together to develop and implement a model of partnership for climate action to grow an inclusive, clean, and prosperous future together.
First Nations are uniquely and disproportionately affected by climate change. They are experiencing an increase in threats caused by wildfires, permafrost thaw, changing wildlife patterns, diminishing access to traditional food sources, and flooding. First Nations’ knowledge systems, self-determination, and rights must be woven into all federal climate policy and program development as their experiences and knowledge related to the environment and climate change are diverse and unique.
A growing body of evidence demonstrates that mobilizing Indigenous Knowledge in decision‑making can increase the viability of Canada’s responses to the various dimensions of climate change, including food, energy, and water security; resource co-management; the conservation of lands, waters, and ice; economic development; community infrastructure; and health and well-being. Canada is prioritizing initiatives that support self-determined climate action and amplify the leadership of First Nations to advance reconciliation and to address the impacts of climate change.
The JCCA made progress on many priorities in 2021, despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, as well as the devastating fires and floods that severely impacted many communities throughout British Columbia, including Lytton First Nation. This collaboration has been critical to advancing First Nations’ full and effective participation in clean growth and climate change programs, and ensuring that Canada’s climate solutions build on First Nations Climate Leadership and promote the full inclusion of First Nations.
The report highlights five priority areas for the JCCA discussions and activities in 2022, including
- Accelerating First Nations’ full and effective participation in clean growth and climate change programs, including informing the upcoming National Adaptation Strategy.
- Advancing the development of First Nations Climate Leadership through meaningful dialogue.
- Monitoring and evaluating progress on First Nations Climate Leadership and the full and effective participation of First Nations in climate change programs.
- Developing new communication tools to improve transparency, accountability, and engagement through JCCA activities.
- Embedding an intergenerational and intersectional dialogue on climate change in all JCCA activities.
Indigenous Peoples’ leadership is key to Canada achieving its climate objectives. The Government of Canada will continue to engage with First Nations as partners in climate action as it implements measures under the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan, and as Canada works toward a net-zero future.
“For many First Nations, climate change is not a future issue, but one that is having financial, cultural, and environmental impacts on their communities as we speak. We have much to learn from First Nations’ experiences and unique relationships with the land. Indigenous Knowledge can and must be central to the development of effective climate policy. I am honoured to work in partnership with First Nations and the Government of Canada to advance the priorities of the Joint Council. I want to thank the JCCA for their work, and say that we are ready to meaningfully collaborate on the priorities identified in this year’s report.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“As climate leaders, First Nations must have meaningful opportunities to shape the vision and approach of all climate action. The Joint Committee on Climate Action is one such approach, where First Nations governance, laws, and priorities can breathe life into an approach that centres First Nations leadership in climate action and provides a more holistic approach to fighting climate change. First Nations people are often the first to feel the impacts of climate change and we have the knowledge to inform meaningful solutions to the very real impacts on Mother Earth. We look forward to our continued work with the JCCA and demonstrating First Nations climate leadership, including through the AFN National Climate Strategy.”
– Kluane Adamek, Regional Chief, Assembly of First Nations – Yukon Region
- The Joint Committee on Climate Action follows on from the Assembly of First Nations resolution 22/2017. It was established in 2016 by the Prime Minister and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. It focuses on climate change and clean growth, and is based on the recognition of rights, co-operation, and partnership.
- The JCCA seeks to promote First Nations’ full and effective participation in federal climate action. It serves as a unique forum where First Nations representatives and federal officials come together to discuss climate change priorities and collaborate on climate policy.
- The Committee’s mandate does not replace or alleviate the Crown of its duty to consult First Nations’ rights holders at the local, regional, and national level on climate change issues.
- Its work includes identifying barriers to First Nations’ participation in decision making and access to climate change programs, and identifying ways to advance First Nations’ self determination in climate action.
- The JCCA is made up of First Nations representatives from all regions in Canada, representatives of the Assembly of First Nations, and Government of Canada officials from numerous federal departments, including Environment and Climate Change Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Infrastructure Canada.
March 15, 2022
Indigenous Knowledge component of the Climate Atlas of Canada
CBC – The Indigenous Knowledges component of the Climate Atlas of Canada, launched today, is the culmination of years of work by Hetxw’ms Gyetxw and the team at the University of Winnipeg’s Prairie Climate Centre, in collaboration with Indigenous communities across the country.
The newly-launched feature provides information about the impacts of climate change on 634 First Nations communities and 53 Inuit communities, while also profiling projects surrounding climate change adaptation and mitigation across the Métis homeland. The map also shares videos from Indigenous elders and knowledge keepers, centring their knowledge as a resource. It highlights projects aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, such as the Cowessess First Nation wind-solar battery storage project in Saskatchewan, and community efforts to adapt to climate change, like the the Métis wildland firefighters
Ian Mauro, Executive Director of the Prairie Climate Centre, who is not Indigenous, said it was important for him as a geographer to help put Indigenous communities on the map — literally in some cases — and work toward reconciliation. It’s a massive contribution from Indigenous communities to all of Canada … to think about a different way of approaching this hugely complex issue that is grounded in that millennia-old yet current and modern Indigenous wisdom,” he said.
The unique approach illustrates how Western or Eurocentric climate change science and Indigenous expertise can complement one another. It’s the embodiment of a concept sometimes called two-eyed seeing, which Hetxw’ms Gyetxw describes:
“Through one eye you’re looking at the world through the Western sciences and the other eye you’re looking through traditional knowledges … you’re taking all perspectives and you’re seeing the world as it truly is, not just in one segmented way.”
Hetxw’ms Gyetxw said Indigenous knowledge is often stereotyped as only being about the past, or relegated to topics like hunting and fishing. He hopes this new tool will help Canadians see the bigger picture.
“Indigenous knowledge encompasses everything,” he said. “It encompasses the weather, it encompasses what things are going to look like in the future. We take into account the biology, the ecology, everything about our lands.”
February 23, 2022
Indigenous Leadership Initiative: Guardian programs
Indigenous Leadership Initiative (ILI) website – ILI founded in 2013 to help strengthen Indigenous nationhood and fulfill Indigenous cultural responsibilities to the land. Indigenous-led Guardians programs empower communities to manage ancestral lands according to traditional laws and values. Guardians are employed as the “eyes on the ground” in Indigenous territories. They monitor ecological health, maintain cultural sites and protect sensitive areas and species. They play a vital role in creating land-use and marine-use plans. And they promote intergenerational sharing of Indigenous knowledge—helping train the next generation of educators, ministers and nation builders. Over 40 Indigenous Nations and communities in Canada have launched Guardians programs.
January 27, 2022
First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC
FNEMC – “The Indigenous Sovereignty: Implementing Consent for Mining on Indigenous Lands” is a new report prepared by the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC) setting out 25 recommendations which, if implemented, would compel mining companies and prospectors to secure the approval of First Nation governments in order to obtain consent-based access to First Nations’ lands. They would further be required to agree and abide by conditions set by those First Nations governments.
The report is, in part, a response to the Province’s lack of progress on implementing the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (the “Declaration Act”) since its enactment in 2019. The Declaration Act requires the Province, in consultation and collaboration with Indigenous peoples, to align all provincial laws with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UN Declaration”). Indigenous people’s rights of decision-making authorities about their lands, includes Free, Prior and Informed Consent for activity on their lands; these are key human rights standards in the UN Declaration, and the Declaration Act creates mechanisms for the Province (and Canada) to uphold.
However, to date, the Province has not reformed any of its mining laws to be consistent with the Declaration Act, and it continues “business as usual”. First Nations continue to rely on costly legal processes to protect their rights and address non-sanctioned mining operations in their territories, contrary to the Declaration Act and the Province’s commitments to First Nations. In the latest case filed in the BC Supreme Court in October 2021, the Gitxaala Nation, whose territory is in northern BC, challenges the Province’s “free entry” mineral claim staking regime. The Nation is challenging the registration and granting of multiple mineral claims by the Province between 2018 and 2020 on Banks Island in Gitxaala territory without the Nation’s consent, consultation, or even notification.
All 25 recommendations are consistent with the legal certainty that will exist once mining laws are aligned with the Declaration Act, offering near-term practical options for First Nations to exercise sovereignty and consent in relation to mining activities. In the absence of provincial government action, the Report recommends that First Nations move ahead with the development of their own mining regimes based on their Indigenous laws and legal orders and exercise of their right of consent for all existing and future mining operations.
November 16, 2021
Indigenous Leadership Initiative and Canadian Geographical Society documentary
The Indigenous Leadership Initiative and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society – have formed a ground-breaking partnership to produce a documentary series about Indigenous Guardians caring for lands and waters across the country.
This collaboration grows out of shared values and concerns. In the age of climate change and loss of biodiversity, both ILI and RCGS want to highlight Indigenous leadership in sustaining animals and plants, clean air and water, and healthy people and communities.
The series will include seven 60-minute documentaries, as well as a feature-length film developed for international audiences. Sharing Chief Bellegarde’s enthusiasm Charlene Bearhead, Director of Reconciliation for the RCGS, states “Guardians are the climate and environmental heroes of today who carry the practices, science and knowledge of their ancestors to combat the dire challenges the planet is now facing.” Bearhead concludes, “The stories of the incredible work of Guardians are needed now more than ever. All Canadians, and indeed all global citizens, need the experiences, wisdom and hope that Guardians bring. This Indigenous led partnership is the key to that hope.”
“Elders tell us that if we take care of the land, the land takes care of us. Guardians help honour this responsibility, and it’s great to know more people will see them in action—and through an Indigenous lens,” said Dahti Tsetso, Deputy Director of ILI. Dene Filmmaker Amos Scott is working with the ILI and RCGS team to help develop the series with Indigenous onscreen protocols at its foundation. He will lead a team of Indigenous directors and creatives who will drive the production of the series.
Indigenous Guardians serve as the “moccasins and mukluks” on the ground for Indigenous Nations. They are trained experts who manage protected areas, restore caribou, salmon, and other species, and monitor development. There are more than 70 Guardians programs in the country, helping honour the cultural responsibility to care for lands and sustaining natural systems all life depends on.
October 13, 2021
Wataynikaneyap: First Nations owned transmission line
Globe and Mail – Wataynikaneyap – “the line that brings light” in Anishinaabemowin – is an 1,800-kilometre transmission line to connect 17 First Nations communities to the Ontario power grid. It’s majority-owned by 24 First Nations, and it’s being built under guiding principles they developed. Those include a requirement that the project not interfere with seasonal activities such as hunting and trapping, and that no herbicides be used along the line.
As of this month, about 60 per cent of the right-of-way for the project has been cleared and about 13 per cent of the towers have been strung with transmission wires. About 600 people are working in 12 camps along the route. In September, the Ontario Energy Board approved rates for the line, which is expected to be complete in 2023.
Wataynikaneyap is expected to prevent more than 6.6 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over 40 years by replacing roughly 25 million litres a year of diesel fuel. For communities, the project represents employment and training opportunities, as well as reliable electricity that will open the door to new homes, schools and businesses. And it means a steady stream of revenue from providing electricity services to communities, in partnership with Fortis and others, and with rates regulated by the Ontario Energy Board.
The federal government in 2018 announced $1.6-billion in funding for Wataynikaneyap, saying in a budget document that its contribution would be offset by no longer having to pay for diesel fuel for communities that get connected to the line. The Ontario government in 2019 announced a construction loan for the project of up to $1.3-billion, and a group of five Canadian banks provided $680-million, bringing available construction funding to just over $2-billion.
When Margaret Kenequanash, Wataynikaneyap’s CEO since 2017 talks about the project, she emphasizes future generations, including her grandchildren. Speaking roughly a week after the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, she said the day was an important time to acknowledge trauma, grief and loss, but that it also opened the door to talking about how to change the future.
“What are we going to do to make a change? What action needs to be made – as an individual, as a company, as an entity or corporation, to change history?” she said.
August 13, 2021
First Nations-Canada Joint Committee on Climate Action Annual Report
Assembly of First Nations – First Nations-Canada Joint Committee on Climate Action (JCCA) released its third annual report to the Prime Minister and the National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. The JCCA’s annual report documents the positive steps taken towards reconciliation and forging a stronger climate partnership in 2020. This year’s report highlights the Joint Committee’s work in five key areas:
1. Ensuring First Nations’ full and effective participation in federal clean growth and climate change programs.
2. Empowering First Nations leadership in emerging opportunities for climate action.
3. Enabling the meaningful participation of First Nations in the carbon pollution pricing system.
4. Developing First Nations–specific indicators and criteria to report on the implementation of climate-related federal funding programs and outcomes for First Nations.
5. Fostering intergenerational dialogue on climate change.
The JCCA’s mandate does not replace or alleviate the Crown of its duty to consult First Nations rights-holders at a local, regional and national level on issues related to climate change. As the JCCA continues to focus on its core mandate of providing joint advice on the implementation of the PCF, the SCP and First Nations’ climate priorities, it positions at the core of its work the paradigm of First Nations Climate Leadership, the importance of empowering self-determined climate action, and the conviction that First Nations have a unique perspective that is integral to the way we collectively respond to the changing climate. This report documents our journey through the third year of collaboration, describing our shared strategies, and some challenges, for accelerating positive climate outcomes.
May 24, 2021
Cree Nation territories reserved for protected areas
The 23 TRPAPs in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay region are officially recorded in the Québec Register of Protected Areas as of March 31, 2021. Their official designation allows for the protection of the territories concerned, in particular by prohibiting any natural resource exploitation activities (forest, mining, and energy activities).
February 9, 2021
Indigenous Fisheries Research Centre at UBC
Prince George Citizen – Andrea Reid, the Nisga’a fisheries scientist, professor at the University of British Columbia and National Geographic explorer sits down at kitchen tables with elders and fish harvesters. They know the fish intimately, she says, and their words offer insights into the fish’s demise — and offer her hope they will recover. Salmon runs have crashed across B.C. in recent years, with climate change, habitat loss and decades of overfishing fuelling their decline. Last year, the Fraser River’s sockeye run saw only 293,000 fish — the lowest number since records began — halting all sockeye fisheries on the river. Dozens of other runs in the province have also struggled recently. The loss is worrying, and not only for B.C.’s many salmon-dependent ecosystems.
“Many people identify as salmon people and have relationships with the fish that they’re part of who we are, they’re part of identity, and they’re so much more than a commodity,” she said. “They’re treated much more like a relative than a product, and I think that has profound implications for how we interact with salmon.”
It’s a philosophy that historically, fisheries scientists have largely ignored and colonial policies actively tried to suppress. For years, Indigenous fishing and management methods that had worked for generations were banned, she says, and decades of overfishing ensued. That pushed the fish into a vulnerable position made more precarious as the Pacific has warmed, crucial spawning streams have been disturbed and open-pen fish farms have increased the prevalence of diseases in the province’s waters. Returning to that relational approach — without forgoing the valuable insights offered by western scientific methods — will be key to the fish’s future, Reid says. That goal lies at the heart of her most recent initiative: An Indigenous fisheries research centre at UBC that will support Indigenous communities looking to use western and Indigenous knowledge to better manage, or bring back, their fish.
The centre builds on Reid’s doctoral work blending western science and Nisga’a knowledge to understand what is driving 83 per cent biodiversity and salmon population declines on the Nass River in Nisga’a territory in northern B.C.
“A big part of how we work is responding to community interest and needs and being a place that communities can come to when they want to have something that they would like to work on,” she explained. “For so long, researchers have played a big role in coming into communities with their own research agendas. We’re hoping to flip that narrative.”
December 17, 2020
Cree Nation territories reserved for protected areas
CISION – Québec City – Through the Grand Alliance with the Cree Nation Government the Québec government will protect more than 20% of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory in the Nord-du-Québec region before the end of 2020. 23 new territories reserved for the purposes of a protected area (TRPPA) were designated recently. Until now 12% of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory was protected and the 23 new TRPPAs will bring to 23% the proportion of protected areas in the territory. The addition of the new territories brings the total to roughly 39 000 km2, equivalent to the area of Switzerland.
This marks a significant step forward for the Grand Alliance, under which biodiversity conservation and the protection of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory, especially the establishment of an interconnected network of protected areas, are central to the social acceptability approach linked to future socioeconomic development projects.
Today’s announcement marks the beginning of the multi-stage approach that will lead to the granting of legally protected status to the territories in question. The inhabitants and users of the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory will be able to participate in the approach.
The following steps will be launched shortly:
• knowledge acquisition and public consultations to finalize the delimitation of the territories;
• the drafting of conservation plans;
• the completion of the procedure to assess and examine impact on the natural and social environments stemming from the obligations under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.
The ultimate objective is to establish biodiversity reserves in the TRPPAs. In some instances, portions of the territory could receive the protected status of a national park. The establishment in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory of the new protected areas is enabling the government to contribute significantly to fulfilling its environmental and biodiversity conservation commitments both among its immediate partners and abroad.
November 18, 2020
West Coast Guardian Programs
Coastal Nations Coast Guard Auxiliary (CN-CGA) – commenced on-water operations this fall in the territorial waters of Ahousaht and Heiltsuk First Nations. CN-CGA response units in Nisga’a, Gitxaala, and Kitasoo/Xai’xais territorial waters will be operational shortly.
November 18, 2020
The Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee
Canada Energy Regulator (CER) – inspection officers and Indigenous monitors for the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee (IAMC-TMX) recently completed the 50th joint compliance verification activity of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and existing line. Leading up to this milestone, IAMC-TMX Indigenous monitors led two recent inspections which focused on assessing the company’s mitigation of impacts on sites of importance to Indigenous peoples in British Columbia and Alberta. These are some of the first Indigenous monitor-led joint inspections with a Canadian federal regulator. Inspections led by Indigenous monitors demonstrate the CER’s commitment to address issues of importance to Indigenous communities and to increase capacity of the IAMC-TMX Indigenous Monitoring Program.
As part of its commitment to Reconciliation, the CER is considering next steps towards developing a national approach to Indigenous monitoring and identifying potential opportunities to engage with Indigenous peoples and the IAMCs, on key principles and considerations for the programs and potential co-development opportunities.
October 8, 2020
West Coast Guardian Programs
“Valuing Coastal Guardian Watchmen Programs: A Business Case” examines the net value of program costs and benefits from the perspective of the First Nations that have these programs. Program costs and benefits are discussed both qualitatively and quantitatively, with the overall value generated by Guardian Watchmen programs described as a return-on-investment ratio.
In 2016, Coastal First Nations Great Bear Initiatuve (CFN-GBI) member Nations participated in a study analyzing the benefits of Guardian Watchmen programs for communities—from improved community and cultural well-being, increased capacity, economic opportunities and enhanced Nation-to-Nation relationships. Although those values are difficult to quantify financially, an exhaustive final report from the study revealed, at the low end, a 10:1 annual return on investment for communities with Guardian programs. For some, the return was higher, at 20:1.
Prepared by EcoPlan International for Coastal First Nations, Great Bear Initiative (CFN-GBI) and Nature United.
https://www.indigenousguardianstoolkit.ca/sites/default/files/Community Resource_Guardians-valuationreport_v10_Final_TNC Canada.pdf
July 8, 2020
The Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee
NationTalk – The Canada Energy Regulator (CER), Trans Mountain Corporation (TMC) and the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and Existing Pipeline (IAMC-TMX) have reached a joint agreement to make continual improvements to Indigenous monitoring”
“Collaborating with the IAMC-TMX and Trans Mountain is helping us develop best practices in Indigenous monitoring and will inform how we approach and expand Indigenous inclusion in oversight for all future projects.” says CER Acting-CEO Sandy Lapointe.
Indigenous interests are reflected in the oversight of the Project and are occurring in multiple ways. The IAMC-TMX Indigenous Monitoring Program supports Indigenous Monitors to participate in verifying compliance through in-field inspections with the CER, DFO and Parks Canada. In TMC’s Indigenous Monitoring Program, Indigenous Monitors work directly with the company to ensure traditional knowledge is incorporated directly and pragmatically into construction oversight practices and decision-making.
The Committee was first proposed by Chiefs Ernie Crey (Cheam) and Chief Aaron Sumexheltza (Lower Nicola) to Prime Minister Trudeau and the Premiers of BC and Alberta in June 2016. The Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee (IAMC) brings together 13 Indigenous and six senior federal representatives to provide advice to regulators and to monitor the Trans Mountain Expansion (TMX) Project and existing pipeline. Members have a shared goal of safety and protection of environmental and Indigenous interests in the lands and water.
All partners participate in the Committee on a “Without Prejudice” basis. Participation in the Committee does not indicate that a community supports or opposes the TMX Project; nor does it replace or diminish the federal government’s duty to consult or accommodate individual Indigenous communities, or diminish its obligations to comply with all applicable legal and regulatory requirements.
June 5, 2020
Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation wins Polaris Prize
Nature United – Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation is one of 10 winners worldwide of The Equator Prize, which recognizes Indigenous peoples and local communities innovating nature-based solutions to climate change and for sustainable development. The prestigious United Nations prize has been awarded for the First Nation’s 50-year-fight to save a giant swath of land that features boreal forest, tundra threaded with lakes, rivers and waterfalls and wildlife in Canada’s Northwest Territories.
It was selected from among 600 nominations in more than 120 countries, and it marked the first time a Canadian group has won. The N.W.T. First Nation was recognized for its work in establishing Thaidene Nëné or “Land of the Ancestors” National Park Reserve. Located on the east arm of Great Slave Lake, the Indigenous Protected Area spans 26,376 square kilometres “The leadership and determination of the Łutsël K’e Dene First Nation to protect their way of life and their sacred homelands is precedent setting in Canada, and very deserving of global recognition. Hadley Archer, Executive Director, Nature United
November 8, 2019
First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC
The Narwhal) – FNEMC has added its voice to increasingly insistent calls for B.C. to toughen up mining rules and make polluters pay. A newly released study, conducted for the council, recommends the province change rules to ensure mining companies post sufficient funds up-front to pay for cleanup and remediation of mining sites and the report recommends that, if the government will not act, First Nations should do it for them.
While other jurisdictions like Quebec and Alaska require mines to post full remediation costs as a condition of approval, B.C. rules allow environmental liabilities from mining projects — which are often on Indigenous lands — to fall to the taxpayer.
Auditor General Carol Bellringer estimating in her 2016 report that there is a $1.43 billion gap between the total cleanup liability of $2.79 billion and $1.36 billion held in financial assurance. Another report by the watchdog group MiningWatch Canada estimated the figure to be closer to $3 billion.
September 27, 2019
Coast Funds: Renewable Energy for Remote Communities
Coast Funds – An Indigenous-led conservation finance organization created by First Nations, the governments of British Columbia and Canada, and private foundations announced the Renewable Energy for Remote Communities program with the Province of British Columbia today. This initiative, launching in early 2020, will see $7.9 million in new investments made with coastal First Nations towards transitioning their remote communities’ fossil fuel-dependent electrical grids to renewable energy sources.
The new initiative is a key component of the CleanBC plan with a priority of reducing climate pollution by shifting homes, vehicles, industry, and business off burning fossil fuels and toward greater use of clean B.C. electricity and other renewable energies. The Province has partnered with Coast Funds to lead investment with 11 First Nations located within the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii regions, and with Fraser Basin Council to lead investments in diesel-dependent communities in other regions of the province. “New investments under this initiative will further strengthen well-being in remote coastal communities and First Nations’ efforts to protect and steward coastal ecosystems, reducing dependency on fossil fuels and the threat of oil spills in the Great Bear Rainforest and Haida Gwaii.” Huux̱ Percy Crosby, Chair of Coast Funds
August 15, 2019
Okwaho Equal Source: “The Indigenous Climate Hub”
NationTalk – Okwaho Equal Source, a leading global Indigenous social innovation company focused on delivering Indigenous social finance, social enterprise, innovation and procurement solutions, is proud to announce the launch of a new national Indigenous climate change website – the “Indigenous Climate Hub” (https://IndigenousClimateHub.ca).
The website, funded by CIRNAC’s First Nation Adapt program, is designed to provide a space to share the stories of the peoples and the lands impacted by climate change from Indigenous perspectives. The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations observes “Indigenous communities are on the front lines of climate change and they are committed to finding solutions and sharing their knowledge with others. The Indigenous Climate Hub will not only showcase these efforts, it will also help improve communication between Indigenous peoples and communities across Canada. This Indigenous-led initiative will strengthen important ties and bring people together in new ways to confront the serious and very real challenges of climate change.”
July 31, 2019
Biodiversity highest on Indigenous Managed Lands
UBC News – More than one million plant and animal species worldwide are facing extinction, according to a recent United Nations report. Now, a new UBC-led study suggests that Indigenous-managed lands may play a critical role in helping species survive. The researchers analyzed land and species data from Australia, Brazil and Canada – three of the world’s biggest countries – and found that the total numbers of birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles were the highest on lands managed or co-managed by Indigenous communities.
The study, which focused on 15,621 geographical areas in Canada, Brazil and Australia, also found that the size of an area and its geographical location did not affect species diversity. “This suggests that it’s the land-management practices of many Indigenous communities that are keeping species numbers high,” said lead author Richard Schuster, the Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellow at Carleton University, who undertook the research while at UBC. “Going forward, collaborating with Indigenous land stewards will likely be essential in ensuring that species survive and thrive.”
“Indigenous-managed lands represent an important repository of biodiversity in three of the largest countries on Earth, and Indigenous peoples currently manage or have tenure to roughly one-quarter of the planet’s land area,” said co-author Nick Reo, an associate professor of environmental studies and Native American studies at Dartmouth College and a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario tribe of Chippewa Indians.
“In light of this, collaborating with Indigenous governments, communities and organizations can help to conserve biodiversity as well as support Indigenous rights to land, sustainable resource use and well-being.”
October 11, 2018
The Edéhzhíe Protected Area
Environment and Climate Change Canada – The Edéhzhíe Protected Area will be the first of many new Indigenous protected areas in Canada, established in collaboration with Indigenous Peoples and supported through the Government’s 2018 budget investment in protecting nature.
The Dehcho First Nations Assembly has designated the Edéhzhíe Protected Area as an Indigenous protected area that will protect water, conserve biodiversity and wildlife habitat, and ensure that the Dehcho Dene relationship with the lands of Edéhzhíe is maintained for present and future generations through Dehcho-led stewardship, monitoring, and cultural activities.
March 22, 2018
Wataynikaneyap: First Nations owned transmission line
EnergiMedia – Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Line Project: Canada’s Largest First Nations Led project. The funding framework allows for a viable transmission business with First Nations and Fortis Inc. participating as the equity investors. The project will connect remote First Nations in Northwestern Ontario to Ontario’s power grid, provide for savings associated with avoided diesel costs, and socio-economic benefits to the communities.
The Wataynikaneyap Power partnership consists of 22 First Nations who are leading this project and equally own 51%, while industry partner, Fortis Inc. (“Fortis”), owns 49% of the project. 17 of the 22 First Nations Wataynikaneyap Power communities currently rely on diesel generators that have become financially unsustainable, environmentally risky and inadequate to meet community needs. A majority of the remote communities are at capacity with their diesel generators or face electrical load restrictions limiting the construction of homes and other critical infrastructure that would support community growth. The Project is estimated to create 769 jobs during construction and nearly $900 million in socio-economic value.
February 28, 2018
Indigenous Conservation Areas
Globe and Mail – Examples of partnerships by Parks Canada and indigenous groups to manage conservation efforts of National Parks in line with indigenous beliefs, traditions and cultural practices. The $1.3B investment over five years from the Federal Government in Budget 2018 to be used to protect species at risk and to implement broad recovery plans. That will pay for the expansion of national wildlife areas and migratory bird sanctuaries, as well as the management of protected areas and national parks. This includes a $500-million Nature Fund that Ottawa says will pair with matching funds from provinces, corporations and not-for-profit organizations to buy private lands, to support provincial and territorial conservation efforts, and to build the capacity of Indigenous people to conserve lands and species.
- In 2015, the Thaidene Nene national-park reserve was proposed in a 14,000-square-kilometre swath of boreal forest and tundra on the eastern end of Great Slave Lake. It is co-managed by the Dene who are sharing their cultural heritage with visitors while protecting a vast area of the country’s northern wilderness.
- The 9,700-square-kilometre Torngat Mountains National Park in Labrador is being co-managed by Inuit, the staff is Inuit and the Inuit are protecting the endangered caribou herds.
- And, in Gwaii Haanas National Marine Park Reserve on Canada’s west coast, young Haida people who are part of an Indigenous Guardians Program are protecting the region but also introducing people to their culture and their connection with the land.
January 1, 1970
RAVENSTRUST Legal Defence Fund
RAVENTRUST website – RAVEN’s mission is to raise legal defence funds – over a million dollars since 2014 – to help Indigenous Peoples in Canada defend their treaty rights and the integrity of their traditional lands and cultures. RAVEN’s vision is a country that honours the ancestral laws, rights and stewardship values of Indigenous Peoples and their equitable access to the justice system within a thriving natural environment.
The Pull Together campaign helped fund legal challenges that led to the cancellation of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. A second Pull Together campaign is currently targeting Kinder Morgan. Additional campaigns raised the funds that enabled the Tsilhqot’in National Government to achieve success in defence of Teztan Biny (Fish Lake) and their sacred homeland. We have kept the Beaver Lake Cree Nation’s legal action alive, despite efforts to have it thrown out of court. We helped four Yukon First Nations defend the Peel Watershed in a historic Supreme Court victory. And we have assisted other nations, such as Lake Babine First Nation, with legal actions.