In December 2019, the Marten Falls First Nation (MFFN) Community Access Road Project Team introduced an Indigenous Knowledge (IK) Program. An important part of the assessment processes is collecting 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.
The IK Program was developed with the aim to collect 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 to discuss how relevant 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.
The IK Program is a critical component of the information base upon which the assessments will be conducted. The information generated through the IK Program will be used in tandem with scientific approaches, and both knowledge systems will be used in forming the foundation for baseline conditions, predicting potential project impacts, and determining appropriate mitigation and monitoring methods.
IK Program Timeline
The IK Timeline below illustrates the key steps in the IK Program and their anticipated completion dates. The Project Team began communicating with Indigenous Communities in December 2019, and Project funding support for those communities who have expressed an interest in participating in the IK Program began in the summer of 2021 and is on-going.
The submission deadline for the IK Program Studies to inform the Environmental Assessment processes was June 30, 2022. While this deadline has passed, the IK Program will continue!
IK and information on Indigenous Land and Resource Use is invaluable. We continue to work with communities to share information and complete the Project-specific studies.
If your community has IK or information on Indigenous Land and Resource Use related to the Community Access Road Project that you would like to share please do not hesitate to reach out to Bob Baxter at 1-807-628-7553 or email@example.com or Andrea Nokleby at 1-604-417-5332 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Indigenous Knowledge and information on Indigenous Land and Resource Use is invaluable in that it helps us to better understand and appreciate the environment with respect to the identity, culture, and heritage of Indigenous Communities.
If your community has Indigenous Knowledge or information on Indigenous Land and Resource Use related to the Project that you would like to share or if you would like to learn more about the Indigenous Knowledge Program please do not hesitate to reach out to our team for more information on the IK Program at 1-800-764-9114 or email@example.com