INDIGENOUS KNOWLEDGE PROGRAM
An important part of the assessment processes is collecting Indigenous Knowledge (IK) and information on Indigenous land and resource use to help us understand baseline (existing) conditions, predict the potential effects of the Project, and determine appropriate impact management and monitoring measures.
We have developed an IK Program which aims to: collect Indigenous Knowledge (IK) relevant to the Project and information on Indigenous land and resource use in the vicinity of the Project area. The IK Program strives to collaborate with interested Indigenous communities and discuss how relevant IK and Indigenous land and resource use information will become part of the assessment processes and Project planning and design.
The IK Program involves two key ways for information gathering and sharing:
- Sharing existing and relevant IK and Indigenous land and resource use information previously collected by communities (e.g., for community-based land use planning) with the MFFN Project Team; and
- Completing Project-specific IK and Indigenous land and resource use studies to collect relevant IK and information on Indigenous land and resource use in the vicinity of the Project.
Indigenous Knowledge refers to Indigenous systems of knowledge as well as cultural practices related to the production of knowledge based on traditional belief systems, relationships to the environment, and community practices. It is the accumulated and living knowledge built upon the historic experiences of Peoples living on the land and adapting to social, economic, environmental, spiritual and political change (Chiefs of Ontario, n.d.). It includes knowledge about the natural environment (e.g., locations of caribou seasonal use and calving areas), the relationships between environmental changes and species or ecosystems, and how potential effects to the environment can be avoided or reduced.
Indigenous Land and Resource Use refers to specific areas and resources used for traditional purposes when Indigenous peoples learn and practice their IK (Garvin et al., 2001). This includes the areas and sites used for hunting, trapping, fishing, and gathering and the resources harvested, as well as cultural sites, features and practices. Sometimes referred to as Traditional Land Use.
IK Program Guiding Principles
Our approach to working with communities on the IK Program will be guided by the following key principles:
- We will work proactively to build relationships that are based on trust, transparency, understanding, cooperation, and mutual respect.
- The protection and incorporation of IK and Indigenous land and resource use information will be governed by IK Sharing Agreements.
- Community-specific protocols, traditional channels of authority, and levels of approval within each participating Indigenous community will be followed and respected.
- The people of your community are an important source of knowledge of the environment, past and present uses of the land and its resources within your territory and, associated cultural practices (tangible and intangible) and may hold knowledge relevant to our Project local and regional study areas.
- Our aim is to work with your community to participate in and complete the IK Program in a manner that respects your protocols and that can be meaningfully integrated into and become part of the assessment processes.
- We will strive to work with Indigenous Communities in terms of how to incorporate IK and information on Indigenous land and resource use within our local and regional study areas, as appropriate, throughout the Project assessment, planning and design processes.
Please reach out to our team for more information on the IK Program at firstname.lastname@example.org