New Directions to Support Indigenous Leadership
In 2019, Brandon Doxtator of Oneida Nation of the Thames joined the Carolinian Canada team as our first Indigenous Leadership Coordinator. His work had immense impact and laid the foundation for new directions for the organization. It built on decades of work by past Director Paul General from Six Nations and other Indigenous partners to build bridges between western and Indigenous knowledge of the land.
Carolinian Canada's new Big Picture Healthy Landscape Strategy works to reconcile peoples and ecosystems as a first step to healthy landscapes for many reasons.
- First Nations save the most significant ecosystems in the Zone and globally and over 80% of the world's biodiversity.
- Indigenous ways of knowing and being integrates strong land stewardship ethics and ecological principles.
- Restoring ties to the land heals communities.
- Indigenous leadership benefits all lands and people.
Carolinian Canada's network of leaders includes many Indigenous people, groups and communities. Since 1984, when the Coalition was first envisioned, First Nations communities have connected with non-indigenous conservation programs around shared goals for healthy landscapes. However, our strategic review in 2017 showed that we needed to work more deeply with Indigenous communities - listen, learn and work to grow an equitable network; create ethical space, integrate Indigenous perspectives; and most importantly, support Indigenous leadership for healthy landscapes and strong communities.
While we recognize we have a lot of work to do, we are excited to start shifting the paradigm in our strategic directions to:
- Enable leaders for thriving green communities: Create safe spaces for Indigenous and non‐indigenous perspectives to meet and discuss the issues that matter to everyone
- Grow connections to scale up healthy habitat action: Center Indigenous partnerships to co-develop or support projects to build reciprocity and momentum for healthy landscapes
- Track impact for a healthy zone together: Co-develop impact evaluation frameworks to support Indigenous goals
In fall 2020, the board approved next steps to Indigenize our network, support Indigenous youth to lead the way, and develop policy / direction for supporting internal and external Indigenous leadership.
We live on the traditional territories of many nations including the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee, the Lunaapeew, the Wendat and the Mississauga. We acknowledge the inherent and treaty rights of the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island including the many diverse First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples who live here now.
We commit to the teachings of the Two Row Wampum and the One Dish One Spoon Wampum; and our duty to reconcile, learn more and create safe spaces for Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives to meet and discuss the issues that matter to everyone.
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