Feds partner with Tłı̨chǫ First Nation to protect culturally important land

Map of Tłı̨chǫ Lands, indicating the Traditional Use Zone and the Cultural Heritage Zone of the Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measure.
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The Government of Canada announced its support for an important Indigenous conservation initiative in the NWT. Through the Canada Nature Fund, the feds are contributing $2 million to help conserve more than 22,000 km2 of land between Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake. 

The feds noted that these lands are a fundamental part of the Tłı̨chǫ heritage and identity. They include the Įdaà Trail, an ancestral trail that follows waterways and watershed areas.

The Trail includes many of the best sites for traditional activities including hunting, trapping, fishing, and collecting plants used for medicine, and it occupies a central place in Tłı̨chǫ history and culture.

George Mackenzie, Grand Chief of the Tłı̨chǫ Government noted that the Tłı̨chǫ Wenek’e was developed through the eyes of elders to protect and promote their way of life and the transfer of knowledge to future generations.

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“Our land, our culture, and our way of life are what our people have always relied on and will continue to do so. These types of partnerships will only continue to strengthen our relationship and build on reconciliation.”

The $2 million investment will assist the Tłı̨chǫ Government in

  • continuing to promote and protect Tłı̨chǫ culture and way of life
  • supporting the establishment of conserved areas
  • contributing significantly to the Government of Canada’s biodiversity conservation targets through Indigenous-led conservation efforts
  • supporting research into climate change

This conservation project represents reconciliation in action, as the Tłı̨chǫ Government and the Government of Canada are committing to recognizing the landscape as an “other effective area-based conservation measure” over the next three years. 

Michael McLeod, NWT MP stated that the $2 million investment will help to protect the culture and traditional identity of the Tłı̨chǫ communities and will play a big role in helping to reach Canada’s nature protection goals.

“Our government is proud to be working collaboratively with the Tłı̨chǫ Government to recognize and protect the significant traditional land situated between Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake.”

It was also noted that maintaining this culturally significant land using Indigenous traditional knowledge will also help preserve and protect habitat for wildlife, including 16 species at risk like the boreal caribou, and will preserve known migration corridors for barren-ground caribou.

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