Indigenous relations, stewardship and guidance

Indigenous Peoples play an essential role in protecting and conserving the lands, waters and ice in the region now known as Canada, which has been their home for thousands of years. However, in many places, Parks Canada’s actions have cut or severely altered Indigenous Peoples’ long-standing relationships and sacred responsibilities for the lands, water and ice that have determined their identities and influenced their cultures and languages.

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act

Parks Canada is implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples through an Indigenous stewardship framework.

2023 Minister’s Round Table on Parks Canada: Report and response

Read the Report and Response on Indigenous stewardship of protected heritage places.

Indigenous Cultural Heritage Advisory Council

The Indigenous Cultural Heritage Advisory Council advises Parks Canada on cultural heritage-related projects or initiatives.

Promising Pathways

A resource guide for Parks Canada team members and those building and managing relationships with Indigenous Peoples.

The Land is Our Teacher

Reflections and stories on working with Indigenous Knowledge Keepers to manage heritage places.

Indigenous Stewardship Policy

Review the full draft policy or a shorter summary, learn how engagement shaped the policy, and share your feedback.

Parks Canada is expanding and deepening its relationships with First Nation, Métis, and Inuit communities across the country. An important part of this work is the development of an Indigenous stewardship framework.

The Indigenous stewardship framework is about:

  • honouring relationships
  • empowering Indigenous voices
  • supporting Indigenous leadership and self-determination
  • respecting Indigenous rights, Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous knowledge systems
  • building a more equitable and sustainable future for generations to come

The proposed framework reflects what Parks Canada has heard from Indigenous Peoples on what is needed to support Indigenous connections with protected lands, waters, and ice within their traditional territories, treaty lands and ancestral homelands. It includes core and enabling elements intended to support Indigenous Peoples and Parks Canada in working together to conserve nature and culture. These elements will evolve as Parks Canada continues to engage with Indigenous partners across the country, to ensure the proposed work reflects their priorities and perspectives.

Indigenous Stewardship Framework, text version follows
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Proposed core elements (shown in the green outer ring): these four interconnected elements are understood to be central components of Indigenous stewardship. They include Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous knowledge systems; shared governance; cultural continuity; and economic opportunities.

Proposed enabling elements (shown in the blue inner ring): these three elements are considered to be foundations for Indigenous stewardship. They include: broader efforts to build and maintain strong relationships between Indigenous Peoples and Parks Canada; the need to acknowledge or apologize in those places where past and/or present actions by Parks Canada have impacted Indigenous Peoples; and increased education and understanding among Parks Canada employees and visitors, regarding Indigenous Peoples’ rights, roles and responsibilities in stewarding lands, waters, and ice.

A diverse group of Indigenous leaders is guiding the overall development of the framework. Formed in February 2023, the Indigenous Stewardship Circle (the Circle) is an advisory body representative of First Nations, Inuit and Métis rights holders. This includes modern treaty signatories, self-governing nations, and historic treaty partners, as well as national and regional Indigenous organizations. The Circle meets regularly to discuss and advance work on the development of the framework. At its core, the intent of this work is to advance reconciliation and support the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

For more information contact Parks Canada’s Indigenous Consultation and Engagement team

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