Decolonizing Ontario’s provincial parks: Building relationships and aligning with First Nations conservation initiatives in the Mnidoo Gamii region (Georgian Bay)
Funded by: Canada Research Chairs program
The goal of this project is to contribute towards modernizing government protected areas (provincial parks and conservation reserves) by learning about how they can better engage local First Nations governments, align conservation goals, and build stronger community connections. As part of this, we hope to learn more about current conservation initiatives, thoughts about how protected areas can improve, local connections, and relationship building approaches/opportunities. Strong relationships could result in better coordination of regional environmental protection, application of Indigenous conservation methods, expanded employment opportunities, and improved cultural awareness of park visitors and staff. This project is focused in the Mnidoo Gamii (eastern Georgian Bay) region of Ontario.
Through engagement with First Nations and conservation leaders and staff in the region, this work aims to provide recommendations to the Government of Ontario (Ontario Parks) regarding:
- ways to improve alignment with community conservation initiatives;
- appropriate approaches for better engaging local Indigenous governance, and;
- opportunities to strengthen relationships with First Nations communities/ organizations.
This work is being conducted as a part of the Conservation Through Reconciliation Partnership, an Indigenous-led initiative to respond to the Indigenous Circle of Experts (2018) We Rise Together report. The report is calling for changes in how land is protected in Canada to decolonize conservation and re-examine how nature is protected in a way that aligns with Indigenous notions of environmental stewardship. This project is guided by a Regional Advisory Group consisting of community and organizational staff from around the Mnidoo Gamii region. This group will be consulted at various stages of the project for advice and feedback.
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