Strides First Nation communities in AB are making towards land conservation and cultural preservation.

TSAG is embarking on a feasibility study on Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) with Kisik Solstice JV and Metis Settlements General Council (MSGC). IPCAs aren’t new globally but are relatively new in Canada.

Indigenous Nations throughout Canada are endeavouring to assert greater control over their ancestral land bases. Canada’s establishment of protected areas—defined as “clearly defined geographical space[s], recognized, dedicated and managed, through legal or other effective means, to achieve the long-term conservation of nature with associated ecosystem services and cultural values” has historically displaced Indigenous peoples from their lands. For example, when Jasper National Park was established in Alberta in the early 20th century, Métis families who had been living in the region for over a century were forcibly evicted. In recent years, however, Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs)- a new sort of Indigenous-led land management model, akin to other types of protected areas – have emerged as a means for Indigenous groups to protect their Aboriginal rights and uphold traditional lifeways, while simultaneously safeguarding conservation values, such as biodiversity.

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Worldwide, there is mounting recognition of the significant role Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCA) and Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conservation Areas (ICCA) can play in biodiversity conservation and the protection of cultural heritage. Indigenous Peoples across Canada are becoming more engaged in good faith with the governments of Canada to speak words of advice for achieving Canada’s commitment to the UN Convention of Biological Diversity’s Aichi Target 11, in the spirit and practice of reconciliation.

The Pathway to Target 1, the Canadian version of UNCBD’s Aichi Target 11, represents Canada’s process to meet the promise to protect and effectively manage 17% of its terrestrial ecosystems and inland waterways, plus 10% of its marine and coastal ecosystems by 2020. Indigenous Peoples involved have stated unequivocally that this target could be achieved overnight if Canada truly adopts the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the 94 calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and finally honours the Peace and Friendship Treaties that form the constitutional foundation of the nation.

The following is a great resource to delve further into the hot topic of IPCAs in Canada:

Article submitted by Theresa Cavanagh