By Gloria Galloway.
There are already a number of conservation agreements with Indigenous people in Canada. In Gwaii Haanas National Marine Park Reserve, on the west coast, young Haida people who are part of an Indigenous Guardians Program protect the region while introducing people to their culture and their connection with the land.
The federal government will ask Indigenous people to take on the job of protecting vast regions of Canadian wilderness after this week’s budget promised “historic” investments in nature conservation.
Environmentalists, who praise Ottawa’s decision to spend more than a billion dollars to meet the country’s international biodiversity targets, say the Inuit, the Métis and the First Nations are eager to accept the official role of stewards of the land.
It is one, they say, that falls naturally to first peoples whose traditional territory encompasses most of the remaining undeveloped area of Canada, and who have both the traditional knowledge required to do the work and a personal stake in ensuring that the conservation projects are a success.
“They want to do it in a way that respects their culture, their history and their connection with the land, allowing them, for example, to harvest [natural resources],” Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Wednesday in an interview with The Globe and Mail.
…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.
…Valerie Courtois, the director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, a collective of Indigenous leaders who are working to strengthen Indigenous nationhood, said the $1.3-billion commitment is “historic” and is exactly what the members of her group hoped to see in the budget.