Canada wants to up collaboration with First Nations, Inuit, Métis on national parks

Qausuittuq National Park. (Courtesy Parks Canada)
Qausuittuq National Park in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut. A new report says collaboration between the government and Indigenous peoples on projects like this are important to conservation efforts in the country. (Courtesy Parks Canada)
Greater collaboration with Indigenous peoples on national park areas will play an important role in conversation and management, says a report from Parks Canada released this month after a public consultation.

“I am proud to share the practical steps we are taking in response to that feedback – such as making ecological integrity the first priority in decisions made about the future of our national parks, and ensuring more Canadians have access to nature and historic sites,” said Catherine McKenna, Canada’s minister of the environment and climate change and the minister responsible for Parks Canada, in a news release last week.

“I look forward to working with our partners in communities across the country, and with Indigenous peoples in particular, to protect, share and sustain Canada’s essential natural and cultural legacy for generations to come.”

Indigenous knowledge and conservation

The Let’s Talk Parks, Canada, consultations were held in January 2017 to hear Canadians views on the country’s protected areas and historical sites.

Thirteen thousand people responded.

Canada’s Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, April 26, 2018. McKenna said protecting and conserving the natural environment is the most important role for the national park system. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

The report was released this month and outlined three priorities:

  • ensure the ecological integrity of national parks and historical sites through investment, limiting development and working with Indigenous peoples
  • better promote the national park system to Canadians
  • preserve protected areas for future generations

The report also said Indigenous guardian programs in national parks should be expanded , that interpretive and storytelling programs rooted in traditional knowledge should be developed and that both traditional Indigenous knowledge and Arctic marine science should inform conservation decisions.

Protected Arctic areas

Canada has already worked with Indigenous peoples on important park projects, including two in the Arctic: the creation of Qausuittuq National Park, located on the northern part of Bathurst Island, in the eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut; and the establishment of Tallurutiup Imanga / Lancaster Sound marine conservation area, also in Nunavut.

Parks Canada is the government agency responsible for preserving Canada’s natural and historical sites. It currently oversees 46 national parks, one urban national park in Greater Toronto, 171 national historical sites and four marine conservation areas.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Finland: Arctic parks among most visited in Finland, Yle News

Norway:  Indigenous Peoples’ knowledge can help us prevent climate changes says Ban Ki-moon, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia:  Russia plans fenced parks to confine reindeer herding in Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Preserving biodiversity in Sweden’s shrinking natural forests, Radio Sweden

United States: Environmentalists sue over Alaska wildlife refuge road plan, Alaska Public Radio Network

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *