For millennia, Indigenous Peoples governed and cared for the lands and waters in what has very briefly been known as Canada. First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities continue to cultivate diverse and abundant cultures, economies, and livelihoods that are in balance with natural law.
Indigenous-led conservation and stewardship is a new way of describing a range of practices, knowledge, skills, and laws Indigenous Peoples have developed, refined, and shared across generations to care for and govern their territories.
In the past decade, there has been a recent shift within Canadian environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOS), Crown governments, and other partners in recognizing, supporting, and investing in Indigenous-led conservation, including Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs).
Indigenous-led conservation is gaining national attention. Many governmental and non-governmental environmental organizations and agencies are making reconciliation and relationship-building with Indigenous leadership a central part of their mandates. And these mandates are directly supported through organizational communications strategies and practices.
These guidelines offer anti-oppressive practices, considerations, and approaches for communicating with and about Indigenous conservation leadership within the Canadian context. This document acts as a framework through which to co-develop communications strategies, approaches, and content with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis partners in respectful, reciprocal, and responsible ways.
These guidelines attempt to shed light on the enduring impacts of colonialism. They also aim to encourage relationship-building based on reconciliation, trust, respect, equity, open dialogue, integrity, and mutual accountability. The primary audiences for these guidelines are communications departments, teams, and professionals within environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs); federal, provincial, and territorial conservation agencies and organizations; consultancies; and other partners supporting and communicating about Indigenousled conservation.
This document can also offer value to Indigenous-led organizations and governments as they co-create communications strategies with partners. It can support Indigenous governments and organizations as they reinforce the principles of respect, responsibility, and reciprocity to ensure authentic, meaningful communications.
We encourage you to download, read, reflect, and share these guidelines widely.
Download Balancing the Narrative: Communications Guidelines for Indigenous-led Conservation.