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January 26, 2024 – Gatineau, Quebec
Indigenous peoples have been stewards of the land, water, and ice since time immemorial. Across the country, First Nations, Inuit, and Métis are braiding Indigenous Knowledge with modern science to offer solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss, while safeguarding the natural spaces we all depend on.
Today, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, announced an investment of almost $12.8 million to support 27 Indigenous-Led Natural Climate Solutions initiatives across Canada. These new initiatives will conserve, restore, and enhance land management of wetlands, peatlands, and grasslands to store and capture carbon while benefitting biodiversity, climate resiliency, and human well-being.
Some examples of these initiatives include:
Together, these Indigenous-led initiatives will help to address the triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution—and their combined impacts. In the spirit of reconciliation, the Government of Canada is committed to supporting the leadership of Indigenous peoples to help conserve ecosystems, protect Indigenous cultures, and develop sustainable economies for our collective future generations.
“Indigenous-led conservation is proven to help land, water, and communities thrive, and it is central to Canada’s plan to reduce five to seven megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year from 2030 to 2050. The Indigenous-Led Natural Climate Solutions Program is crucial to these efforts, helping to protect ecosystems, species, and cultural heritage, while also having significant climate benefits.”
– The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
“The Métis Nation of Ontario views environmental stewardship as one of its central objectives. The Métis Nation of Ontario Statement of Prime Purpose lays out the following aim: “To protect and preserve the land and waters within our homelands for future generations.” The Indigenous-Led Natural Climate Solutions Program is supporting the Métis Nation of Ontario in doing just that by providing support for the Sofgardé la Tèr Project. This project will allow the Métis Nation of Ontario to combat climate change through protecting carbon-rich landscapes and areas with high carbon sequestration potential from being developed. These protected lands will not only help to harness natural systems to combat climate change, but they will also support a landscape that can support many aspects of the Métis way of life. In rapidly urbanizing areas, such as the Greater Golden Horseshoe were the Sofgardé la Tèr Project is located, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Métis citizens to access land. Specifically, this project aims to support knowledge transfer—many Métis teachings are best done on the lands and waters, and this project will help to provide access.”
– Jesse Fieldwebster, Manager of Lands, Resources and Consultations, Métis Nation of Ontario
“Indigenous peoples, through their deep spiritual and cultural connection to the natural world, continue to be leaders in global conservation efforts. In Unama’ki, the Mi’kmaq are guided by principles such as Sespite’tmej (caring for our territory), Msit No’kmaq (all our relations and everything is connected), and Etuaptmumk (two-eyed seeing). Nature-based solutions are a way to fulfill our responsibility to care for gifts from the Creator. This funding will allow the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources to work with our Mi’kmaw communities, as well as Indigenous peoples from Canada and Australia, to develop ways to protect our lands and improve the well-being of our people guided by traditional Mi’kmaw values.”
– Lisa Young, Executive Director, Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources
Office of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
Environment and Climate Change Canada
819-938-3338 or 1-844-836-7799 (toll-free)