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First Nations

Land Management

How does an indigenous perspective differ from that of settlers in relation to the land?

Being an Indigenous Person, especially at this time and our perspective on protected spaces and ensuring that there is this sustainability there from Mother Nature that is in balance. That is just something that is ingrained in us as Indigenous People. It is something that Indigenous People know.  

Today, there is a lot more talk about Indigenous perspectives (in relation to protected spaces) and ensuring that those Indigenous perspectives are being talked about and incorporated into policy, procedures and projects moving forward especially when you talk about climate change. 

We (Indigenous People) are so connected to the environment (in feeling) it’s just something that’s been there. 

Our stories and prophecies need to be looked at and shared with the Non-Indigenous community, especially when we (society) are looking and climate change, adaptation and mitigation and what those effects are. 

We need to stop and reconnect with nature and Mother Earth and be supported in doing that. 

In fact, that is one of our responsibilities (in our teachings as Indigenous People) and one of the gifts that were given to us (from the Creator) is the connection to the environment and how we share that knowledge with the rest of the world. 

The Indigenous perspective is now being asked for (in environmental work). It’s being realized that it is a very important, if not the most important piece of this (climate change) puzzle moving forward.

Why is “land relationship planning” a better term than “land use”?

We need to redefine our thinking because we have our minds wrapped around certain terminology. For instance, land use planning is a term that is used by every municipality and community. 

However, the word “use” is a derogatory term. Instead of calling it “land use”, Indigenous Elders suggest re-terming that and call it land relationship planning. If we do that, than we start to think about our interaction with the environment as a relationship and how we sustain each other. 

This way, we aren’t just “using” the land. With those simple changes in terminology allows people to start to think differently.

By using a term such as “land use” people have a predetermined definition of what’s that supposed to be. It is really hard to get out of that way of thinking but if you change the terminology a little bit people can learn something rather than “unlearn” something. 

We need a "revolution" in how we look at land. Why is that?

Our Elders have stated that we’ve stopped (post colonization) looking at the environment and what sustains us as a community. As a society, we started to look at the environment as a commodity. 

The relationship between humans and the environment changed. We’re not listening to what nature is telling us (and how to prepare) and we need to go back into the bush and listen.  

In the day and age we are in right now, everything is so fast paced that we don’t have time to sit and listen. However, that is critical and key in being able to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We need to take our time and really listen to our teachers which are the natural environment. 

Here is a story about an Indigenous hunter from Manitoba had to say.

"In 2009, he was out hunting and he came across these beavers building a great, big dam (over 3 feet high). He couldn’t understand why the beavers were building such a high dam. In that spring, there was a major flood in Manitoba. 

At the time the hunter never connected the beaver dam and the flood together.

A few years later, he witnessed more beavers building great, big dams. Again, he couldn’t understand why. That spring, there was another major flood and that’s where he made the connection between the beavers and the dams they were making. The beavers knew that a flood was coming and they were preparing themselves."

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