National / International projects

Guardian Program for Indigenous Protected Areas

At the invitation of Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC), NCIED and Gustavson School of Business entered a partnership agreement in June 2020 to analyze and develop a business case for funding to support the protection of Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) through a National Guardians program. DUC, a federal not-for-profit charity dedicated to conserving, restoring and managing wetlands in North America, approached NCIED in March, to discuss the research required to meet their goals.

As Miles Richardson, NCIED Chair, has dedicated his life to working with Indigenous Nations across Canada to govern their ancestral territories, protect their lands and waters, while building sustainable economies, NCIED was well-positioned to undertake the task. From 1984 to 1996, as president of the Council of the Haida Nation, Miles developed the first comprehensive Haida national land and marine use plan, enacted under Haida Law, and negotiated the first nation-to-nation agreement between the Haida Nation and Canada: the Gwaii Hanaas agreement that protects the Gwaii Hanaas area of Haida Gwaii.

With Miles as the lead, the project is currently underway. Regional engagement sessions across Canada will apply participatory action research to inform a framework for Indigenous Nation Guardian programs that link to or align with a National Guardian Network model that empowers Indigenous Nations, governments and communities to honour and fulfill their cultural responsibilities to their homelands.

Aerial photo of Gwaii Haanas – Haida Gwaii Watchment
Gwaii Haanas – Haida Gwaii Watchment

Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships with NRCan

In 2019, the federal Ministry, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), introduced a new 1-year initiative to increase economic participation of Indigenous communities and organizations in energy infrastructure projects in BC and/or Alberta. The Indigenous Natural Resource Partnerships (INRP) program funded projects that demonstrated capacity building to benefit from business opportunities and supported community and regional engagement regarding participation in projects.

The applied research and community engagement project supports Indigenous communities to define their strategies and needs, and choose approaches tailored to their unique situations and goals. The Participatory Action Research (PAR) methods are fundamental to capacity building and allow communities to have an opportunity to achieve their goals for strong, sustainable and successful economic development that positively impacts the well-being of their community members.

We are honoured to have Arthur Mercer, NCIED Director, Community Initiatives, lead the six-community sessions. With external funding approved in early 2020, Mercer, as project manager, coordinated and led a team that conducted engagement sessions in Indigenous communities in BC to identify their needs and requirements to build capacity. 

- Brent Mainprize, NCIED Faculty Champion (Business)

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted the scheduled sessions.