[ X ]
METCALF
FOUNDATION

Indigenous-led Conservation and Carbon Storage Gathering in Guelph
2019

Photo: Guntar Kravis
 
 
 

How might Indigenous-led conservation and carbon storage efforts align with more universal conservation and climate objectives, while creating Indigenous community benefits and advancing Indigenous rights? This overarching question was a focus of Exploring the Possibilities: Indigenous-led Conservation and Carbon Storage in Canada, a Metcalf-funded gathering in late May that was organized and hosted by the University of Guelph, Anwaatin, Inc., and Shared Value Solutions. The meeting included Indigenous leaders from across the country, non-governmental organizations, academics, and other sector partners who are working to advance Indigenous-led conservation and carbon storage efforts. At the gathering, participants mapped shared interests, identified key questions for further exploration, and discussed challenges and opportunities involving carbon, conservation, and Indigenous rights in Canada.

 

Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, upon whose territory the gathering was held, welcomed participants and shared stories of the history and traditions of his community.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

The opening session featured presentations and a panel discussion on Indigenous-led conservation in Canada and possibilities for carbon stewardship. This included remarks from Marilyn Slett, Chief Councillor of the Heiltsuk Tribal Council and President of Coastal First Nations, who spoke about the use of carbon finance as part of an agreement reached between Coastal First Nations and the Province of British Columbia in 2009.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

John Cutfeet, former band councillor for Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation and current Research Fellow with Yellowhead Institute, spoke about KI’s history of lands and resource stewardship and their continued efforts to protect their territory.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

 

Valérie Courtois, Director of the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, shared examples of how Indigenous-led conservation and guardians programs empower communities to manage ancestral lands according to traditional laws and values.

 

Photo: Guntar Kravis

 

Merritt Turetsky, Canada Research Chair in Integrative Ecology and founding member of the Permafrost Carbon Network, provided an overview of the latest science related to carbon cycles in the boreal region and the associated impacts on carbon values.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Steven Nitah shared insights and experiences based on his work as a negotiator for Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation, where he advances efforts to protect Thaidene Nene and support sustainable livelihoods.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

The gathering created spaces for small groups to discuss shared challenges, opportunities, and other areas of interest including carbon finance, negotiating carbon agreements, establishing guardians programs, and more.

Photo: Guntar Kravis

Short video interviews with the leaders at the gathering will be circulated by Indigenous Leadership Initiative later this year, with a hope to build further interest in and support for Indigenous-led conservation and carbon storage strategies.

Photo: Guntar Kravis
 
The George Cedric Metcalf Charitable Foundation
38 Madison Avenue, Toronto, ON  M5R 2S1