This report outlines lessons learned in building public support for Indigenous-led conservation efforts. It highlights communications tools that the conservation sector might use in changing public attitudes about Indigenous-led conservation. This includes conflict resolution approaches, particularly around issues such as Indigenous harvesting activities in and around state-led conservation areas.
Initiated by Parks Canada, this work is intended to support the development of a set of communications guidelines to advance the agency’s responsibility for and commitment to reconciliation in Canada’s National Parks. This report can help inform and guide audiences beyond the conservation sector, including Indigenous governments, organizations, and communities in their work with environmental organizations and/or as they build their communications capacity.
A review of the academic literature found that there is minimal research done on the process of advancing communications that elevate and centre Indigenous voices, ways of knowing, and rights in relation to conservation and stewardship. To address this gap, the report outlines insights from interviews with Indigenous organizations and Parks Canada Field Units from five National Parks.
The interviews explored several approaches to communicating to the public about Indigenous-led conservation and stewardship practices, providing important considerations for elevating Indigenous rights, relationships, and responsibilities within their traditional territories through communications approaches. These findings emphasize the need for broader changes, including creating space for different knowledge systems to coexist with respect, kindness, and generosity.
This report argues that taking these actions is important for two reasons: 1) to develop meaningful, anti-oppressive, and effective communications practices for conservation; and 2) to advance conservation through reconciliation, as well as bring attention to and disrupt the colonial approach to conservation, racism in Canada, and the continued dominance of Western science in environmental management.
Download the executive summary.
Download the full report.