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New Digital Space to Celebrate and Catalyze Indigenous-led Conservation in Canada

Press Release

Interactive website fills information gaps and elevates Indigenous knowledges

GUELPH, ONTARIO – June 20, 2022:

The Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership (CRP) today announced the launch of a new online platform, created to inform and inspire Indigenous-led conservation initiatives in Canada. The IPCA Knowledge Basket holds and shares vital resources to support Indigenous leadership in their nature conservation efforts, including the creation of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs). The announcement fell on the eve of National Indigenous People’s Day during an event to celebrate and honour a national movement of Indigenous leadership in conservation.

“Indigenous governments are at the forefront of protecting the largest, healthiest, and most biodiverse areas across Canada,” said Steven Nitah, Managing Director of Indigenous Relations at Nature4Justice. “The IPCA Knowledge Basket will help to strengthen their capacity to realize their visions and aspirations for the lands and waters they have been stewarding for millennia.”

Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) are lands and waters protected and conserved by Indigenous governments through Indigenous laws, governance, and knowledge systems. They represent pathways to Indigenous self-determination, nationhood, and cultural revitalization. Indigenous approaches to nature conservation are increasingly proving to be as or more effective in preserving biodiversity compared to state-led conservation. In fact, Canada’s goal to conserve and protect 30 percent of lands and oceans by 2030 will unlikely be met without the support and leadership of Indigenous Peoples.

The IPCA Knowledge Basket acts on recommendations set out by the Indigenous Circle of Experts, and addresses the need for a central, accessible, and interactive space for gathering and sharing resources for Indigenous-led conservation. Inspired by the practice of basket weaving, it was designed to bring together the best of Indigenous and western science, innovation, and knowledge.

“The IPCA Knowledge Basket offers a dynamic space for Indigenous leadership to share, learn, and collaborate across what is currently a fragmented and relatively new landscape of information and resources to support the creation of IPCAs,” said Lisa Young, Director of the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources. “This is a big, exciting step for the future of conservation in Canada and beyond.”

The IPCA Knowledge Basket offers a searchable database of original content, including a growing collection of stories from Indigenous-led conservation initiatives, an illustrated guide for creating IPCAs, audio-visual storytelling resources, and links to more than 1,000 publicly available academic and non-academic resources. Visitors can also appreciate the diversity and richness of Indigenous knowledges through spoken languages, artwork, songs, and stories.

“This digital space is a much-needed and valuable resource that can support Indigenous communities as they work to reconcile with their hearts and feel their cultures, languages, practices, knowledges and ecosystems, while also upholding their rights and responsibilities,” said Marilyn Baptiste, former Chief of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation and 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize winner. “This ultimately reflects true reconciliation.”

Moving away from transactional ways of information sharing, the website encourages respect, responsibility, and reciprocity. By agreeing to these principles and creating an account, visitors can gather their own ‘basket’ of resources based on their interests and needs. Along with this commitment comes the opportunity to enhance the platform by contributing resources of their own.

“The IPCA Knowledge Basket is a demonstration of what can be accomplished when we work together and rise together,” said Eli Enns, Co-founder & President of the IISAAK OLAM Foundation. “As a living resource, it represents the strength and abundance we can create from the wisdom of our ancestors, and the knowledge we’re currently gathering in the interest of generations to come.”

The IPCA Knowledge Basket was created through the collective vision and efforts of many, including the IISAAK OLAM Foundation, the Indigenous Leadership Initiative, and members of the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership. Financial contributors include, the IISAAK OLAM Foundation, The University of Guelph, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, the David Suzuki Foundation, Ducks Unlimited Canada, the World Wildlife Fund Canada.

The website was designed in collaboration with Design de Plume, a women-led and Indigenous-owned web design firm based in Sudbury, Ontario.

To learn more about the IPCA Knowledge Basket and embark on your own learning journey, visit: www.ipcaknowledgebasket.ca

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About the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership:

The Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership is an Indigenous-led network that brings together a diverse range of partners to advance Indigenous-led conservation and Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs) across Canada. It aims to investigate, inform, and transform conservation strategy and practice by centring Indigenous leadership, rights, responsibilities, and knowledge. The CRP is a collective of Indigenous leadership, conservation agencies and organizations, academia, civil society and communities acting on and building from the recommendations set out by the Indigenous Circle of Expert’s report We Rise Together.

For more information about the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership, please visit: https://conservation-reconciliation.ca/

Media Contact:

Kristy Tomkinson

Communications and Knowledge Mobilization Specialist, the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership

Email: [email protected]

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