Historically, our Ancestors have spoken about lands that must be “protected for future generations”. These lands that were being referred to, were lands and watersheds that held great importance to Aboriginal people and were areas with rich biodiversity. For example, calving and birthing grounds, pathways of migratory birds, sanctuaries, wetlands, watersheds, and spawning areas.
Our Ancestors predicted over and over the “hard times that are coming”. We are here now in full force, facing the predicted hard times. There is an urgency to plan forward not only for unused areas for socio-economic development, but of most importance, for the long-term conservation of our biodiversity. The Ancestors knew that we would come to a time like now, where the very sustenance of our people’s long-term survival would be in jeopardy. As northern Aboriginal people, we are faced with declining traditional food sources, such as salmon and other fishes, caribou, moose, and birds, due to many factors, including: overharvesting, unclean waters, pollution, contaminants, and most concerning, the warming of our climate. This is having devastating effects on our northern communities, particularly with respect to food security.
This is why, our past Aboriginal leaders began discussions with federal and territorial governments for land claims agreements and the reclaiming of our homelands, protecting of our species, our people, and our livelihoods.
Land and water-use planning is a major priority in the North. It is critical that local traditional knowledge and local experts are a part of the process along with modern science to work together in full collaboration to manage the complex issues we are facing today. By working together with local communities, relevant, sustainable strategies for adaptation can be possible.
- KDCC Longhouse
- Norma Kassi