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Carolinian Canada’s Commitment to Creating Ethical and Safe Spaces

Carolinian Canada Coalition is committed to creating ethical and safe spaces to welcome and ensure the safety of all people in our community. It is important to expand ethical and safe spaces in the sector of conservation to foster community bonds and networks, and to strengthen our work together.

Ethical spaces are places of inclusivity, respect, and trust – spaces where community comes together, and where different knowledge systems can thrive and interact. These spaces are especially important in conservation given the important history of Indigenous land stewardship in Canada and the intertwined relationships between Indigenous cultures and the natural world. To create ethical and safe spaces, we must collaborate by listening, learning, and engaging in dialogue with one another to identify shared best practices and goals for conservation.

In our spaces, we prioritize the celebration of Indigenous accomplishments while also acknowledging barriers that exist, systemic and otherwise. We commit to going beyond acknowledgement to work together and take action against these barriers to create systemic change. We will maintain the focus of our conversations on creating better, positive ways forward together. Carolinian Canada is committed to being accountable to the communities we engage with.

We acknowledge the differences in how people understand ethical space, so we outline below what it means for our community and how we expect everyone to contribute. We welcome you to commit to creating ethical and safe spaces with us, and we ask our community members to read, agree to, and demonstrate the following expectations in our spaces.

Our Expectations for Safe and Ethical Spaces

  1. Listen to different perspectives and accept different knowledge systems. No one knowledge system is placed above the other. All ways of knowing are treated with equal respect and validity.
  2. Be open to understanding one another and listen to problems with the goal of understanding where the perspective is coming from.
  3. Be considerate, patient, and thoughtful when engaging with others.
  4. Speak up right away when faced with harmful comments or forms of harassment and address them. All forms of microaggressions, overt and covert, are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. This includes comments, questions, jokes, tones, etc. that are harmful or inappropriate.
  5. Acknowledge and encourage diversity of peoples and cultures.
  6. Acknowledge challenges and discomfort when approaching differences in language, values, lifestyles, and positions. Be open to challenging your own views and accepting others.
  7. Be open to dialogue. Don’t assume things about others; ask questions and learn in respectful ways.
  8. Respect the confidentiality and comfort levels of others when it comes to sharing information, names, camera or audio, etc. 
  9. Ensure space is created for others to speak and share, especially diverse voices.

For more information about ethical spaces, we encourage you to check out the following resources:

  1. Video by the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership (CRP): What is Ethical Space?
  2. Video by Willie Ermine: What is Ethical Space?
  3. Research paper by Willie Ermine: The Ethical Space of Engagement
    Ermine, W. (2007). The Ethical Space of Engagement. Indigenous Law Journal, 6(1), pp. 193-203.