Where Life is Inextricably Connected to the Land
Situated in the vast Canadian arctic, the Northwest Territories is an unparalleled expanse, rich in biological diversity. This is the only region of Canada that officially recognizes 11 different languages—nine of which are Indigenous. Life here is inextricably connected to the land: spiritually, economically, socially, culturally.
Our Work in the Northwest Territories
This is a region at the forefront of climate change; the north is warming four times faster than the global average. Its boreal forests, freshwater resources, uncharted mountains and sub-arctic tundra have been inhabited by the Indiegnous communities here for millenia. They also provide critical habitat for endemic plants, North American songbirds, moose, lynx, wolverines, grizzly bears, a wide variety of raptors, and caribou, with some of the most unobstructed migratory ranges left—for all of these species—in North America.
In the Northwest Territories, we are committed to working with communities to conserve lands and waters, addressing solutions to climate change, developing resources and tools for co-management of resources, and supporting Indigenous youth.
Indigenous communities must have an active decision-making role on matters pertaining to their territories. We supported Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation in establishing a co-governance model for Thaidene Nëné.
Community-led Land-use Planning
We’ve supported a number of land-use planning training sessions so communities can lead their own processes, using a process that was developed with Indigenous nations in Australia.
Emerging Leaders Programs
We support community-led and designed resilient youth and Guardian programs in NWT through the growth and dissemination of accessible tools and resources.
In 2019, Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation ratified the Thaidene Nëné Indigenous Protected Area through an all-member referendum and invited the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories to sign Establishment Agreements. The agreements established Canada's 47th National Park and the first territorial protected areas.
Thaidene Nëne Stories
A sweeping, 6.5-million-acre landscape of sub-arctic forests and tundra located in the Northwest Territories, Thaidene Nëné is the homeland of the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation. It provides vital habitat for grizzly bears, wolves, birds, fish and some of the last free-ranging herds of barren-ground caribou.
In partnership with the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation, Nature United raised $15 million to establish a $30-million fund, with the remaining amount provided by the Government of Canada. The fund is a key component of the sustainability of Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation’s long-term management of Thaidene Nëné.
The Sahtú Region is the traditional territory of the Dene peoples, and more recently inhabited by Metis people and non-aboriginal immigrants.
Nature United works in partnership with the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gots’ę́ Nákedı (Sahtú Renewable Resources Board), who steward vital habitat for northern wildlife such as barren-ground caribou, snowshoe hare, Arctic hare and lynx.
Since 2017, Nature United has provided resources for conservation planning in this region through the Healthy Country Planning process. This Indigenous-led conservation planning toolbox, was utilized to create the Nío Nę P'ęnę́ Caribou Conservation Plan (2014-2018) and the Delįnę Caribou Conservation Plan (2016). It's been used across the Sahtu, to collaboratively build community-led conservation plans.
The Sahtu people have braved many community upsets and obstacles, including the Covid-19 pandemic, to hold a series of official “community listening" sessions. The first, held in Colville Lake in 2020, was focused on wildlife harvesting and utilized the Healthy Country Planning framework. A session planned for spring 2022 will be held in the community of Delįnę.
As the planning process evolves, we will continue to partner with the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board as they maintain Dene and Métis harvesting traditions, and keep the land and animals healthy for future generations.
We are also helping to strengthen youth engagement programs by providing technical support and funding to the Sahtú Youth Network (a key strategy of the Sahtú Renewable Resources Board). These young leaders will learn valuable skills and cultural knowledge through hands-on trainings and activities such as maintaining cultural sites, conducting environmental monitoring, and interacting with visitors on the land and water.
Healthy Country Planning
An overview of the community-led land-use planning processDOWNLOAD
Healthy Country Planning Case Study
A case study showing how Healthy Country Planning helped revitalize fire culture in the Yurok, Hoopa and Karuk tribes.DOWNLOAD
Conservation Through Co-Occurrence
Woodland caribou as a focal species for boreal biodiversity by Dr. Ronnie DreverDOWNLOAD
Moose Monitoring Summary
Recommendations for initiating Indigenous-led Moose Monitoring and ResearchDOWNLOAD
Moose Management Guide
Resulting from the December 2019 workshop hosted by Nature United and Nisichawayasihk Cree NationDOWNLOAD
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