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How Indigenous-led conservation could help Canada meet its land and water protection targets – CBC

Dec 06, 2022

It’s ‘the right way to go about creating protected spaces,’ advocates say

In the far northwest of Manitoba, the Seal River flows 260 kilometres through the thick boreal forest into Hudson Bay. It’s the only major river in northern Manitoba without any dams. No roads lead to the river, and there’s only one human settlement in the river’s watershed.

That community, the Sayisi Dene, is leading an initiative along with neighbouring Dene, Cree and Inuit communities to protect the 50,000 square kilometres of the watershed. That’s an area of untouched wilderness roughly the size of Nova Scotia, which would be protected from industrial development if the community’s proposal is accepted.

“It is 99.97 per cent pristine. The watershed is actually fully intact. There are no disturbances, no industrial development in the watershed whatsoever,” said Stephanie Thorassie, executive director of the Seal River Watershed Alliance.

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