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What is an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area?

An IPCA is an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area. It is a 100% Indigenous led initiative created to help:

  • Increase rights and title of local Indigenous people
  • Enhance ecological health and introduce climate change mitigation strategies
  • Provide protection to Indigenous culturally sensitive areas
  • Create Indigenous economic development opportunities and jobs across the region. and
  • Increase education, traditional language use and overall health outcomes.

A key element in the process of developing IPCA’s has been the Indigenous Circle of Experts (ICE). They have developed a framework to consider how Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas could be realized in Canada and contribute toward achieving the aim to conserve 30 percent of Canada’s land and 30 percent of its oceans by 2030, all done in the spirit and practice of reconciliation.

ICE has stated that IPCAs can take many forms, but they all share these common elements:

  • They are Indigenous-led.
  • They represent a long-term commitment to conservation.
  • They elevate Indigenous rights and title to their land.

Here is a link to the full report written by the Indigenous Circle of Experts.

We rise together.

There are many success stories from Indigenous led conservation areas across Canada, and as far afield as Australia.

Four benefits of the proposed Stein-Nahatlatch IPCA

1) Reconciliation – Increase Rights and Title of BC First Nations
The Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area will be a giant step towards advancing reconciliation, and rights and title of our bands, nations and elders. The Nation will lead the design and management of the IPCA, thereby increasing our authority in land and wildlife management.

2) Ecological Protection
Our territory is a transition zone from the dry interior to the wetter Coastal Mountains that encompasses diverse ecological zones, including open pine forests, cedar groves, alpine tundra, lakes, rivers, and glaciers. An IPCA could help facilitate enhanced ecological health across the entire area by protecting it in a comprehensive way through such measures as wildlife management corridors between protected areas, land restoration initiatives at damaged sites, and climate change mitigation efforts such as prescribed burns to reduce the risk of catastrophic forest fires. This big picture approach to ecological protection will better secure the existing protected areas as well as benefit wildlife such as grizzlies and wild salmon that depend on the health of the greater ecosystem.

3) Traditional Knowledge, Ceremony and Cultural Protection
Traditional culture and ceremonies are a key part of our heritage and would be an outcome created by an IPCA. This would include the creation of elders circles and ceremonial sites to hold water, traditional food and fish ceremonies. Knowledge keepers and experts would be able to pass on traditional knowledge to be shared with all members of our community including our youth. Helping to bring our languages back to life by supporting the many groups within our Nation who are already working on this currently. The IPCA would help develop best techniques to teach and learn our languages and help organize traditional names within our territory with the future goal of renaming places from their colonial names.

4) Economic
Economic development opportunities will benefit our communities in and around the region through increased employment, guardians’ programs, social cohesion, education and improved health outcomes. As well as, the launch of a comprehensive ecological restoration program which will address the historic land use mismanagement of the natural resources found within our territory. An Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areawill provide many new jobs, training and overall economic development opportunities within our territory. An Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area would also create immense opportunity for Indigenous led conservation and restoration based financing opportunities.