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Brady Highway, “Thundering Ahead: Campaign for Canada’s Wanuskewin Heritage Park”

Brady Highway, “Thundering Ahead: Campaign for Canada’s Wanuskewin Heritage Park”

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Indigenous knowledge and conservation workshop.
November 15, 2018

Hosted by the Parks Research Network at the University of Alberta

Summary Notes

  • Partnerships need to make sense and involve local communities
  • Sharing in the resources and educating people – not just transferring knowledge for economic benefit
  • Unique part of the park – Elders council (contrast to Parks Canada which is very centrally focused) that helps to ensure their vision is implemented in the park
  • If research proposal does not make sense to the community it cannot be engaged with – Indigenous communities present the issues they would like to explore to researchers and government
  • Focus on education to visitors (40,000 visitors/year – this will likely triple)
    • Many visitors from school (K-12)
  • Indigenous communities want to be able to engage in their own research and publish their own findings
  • The park is considered a learning beacon with relationships to universities (with Indigenous methodologies in mind)
  • Hope to increase the size of the park – need partnerships and investments (in the local communities) for this
  • As capacity is built in parks – it needs to transfer into the local communities

Comments from Workshop Facilitator, Thomas Snow

  • How do we speak to important issues while we work within an institution?
    • Institutions are not always interested in changing, especially when driven by monetary means
    • Underlying theme in workshop – the need to build bridges, create relationships, and create allies within work places
  • One of the ways to do this – put Indigenous voices first

Workshop Breakout Session Notes

  • Indigenous voices first – guiding questions limit the conversations
  • Brady Highway – what do the settler communities want from Indigenous communities? To take away knowledge?
  • Find a place to create space for Indigenous people to lead the way in conservation
  • Tension between “taking away knowledge” and wanting to engage with Indigenous communities
  • How can a single representative from Indigenous communities speak on behalf of a large amount of people (who all have varying values and opinions)?
  • Comparing differences between communities is not productive
  • “How to make this more human for Indigenous People” – with regards to collaboration on parks management and conservation
  • Challenges with framing PR – ensuring information shared to the public is fair to everyone
  • What about revenue generation for the local Indigenous communities?
  • Creating a place for productive conversations to occur and facilitate these discussions – the communities will decide what is appropriate for conservation management
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