Ndahecho Gondié Gháádé (Following the Words of Our Elders) Agreement includes a new model for the Nahanni National Park Reserve cooperative management body, and additional provisions for economic benefits and employment and training opportunities
NAHANNI BUTTE, NT, Sept. 30, 2022 /CNW/ - Protected areas play a vital role in conserving natural and cultural heritage, fighting climate change and biodiversity loss, and providing Canadians with opportunities to learn more about iconic cultural and natural settings. The lands, waters, and ice that Parks Canada administers overlap with traditional territories, treaty lands and ancestral homelands of Indigenous peoples. Parks Canada recognizes the important roles Indigenous peoples play in protecting and conserving these cherished areas.
Today, Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, together with Chief Steve Vital, Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band, and Grand Chief Herb Norwegian, Dehcho First Nations, announced the signing of the Ndahecho Gondié Gháádé Agreement to support social and economic opportunities for Nahʔą Dehé Dene and Dehcho Dene with regard to Nahanni National Park Reserve. The signing of this agreement builds on 20 years of successful cooperative management, and enhances the relationship in a context of respect and reconciliation.
This agreement recognizes and supports the crucial participation of Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band and Dehcho First Nations in the management of Nahanni National Park Reserve. Key elements include new and innovative models for cooperative management, funding for the new Nahʔą Dehé K'ehodi (Guardians on the Land) program within Nahanni National Park Reserve, employment opportunities, capacity development and economic provisions, as well as support for Elders and youth to participate in "on the land" programs within Nahanni National Park Reserve.
Shared governance arrangements, as described in this agreement, provide ways for Parks Canada and Indigenous peoples to engage in collaborative decision-making for protected heritage places. They are an important way for the Government of Canada to honour its commitments to renewed relationships with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership, rooted in the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
This agreement will help ensure Indigenous connections to the land are honoured, and Indigenous rights are respected. It will also advance the shared interest of Parks Canada, Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band and Dehcho First Nations to protect the ecological and cultural integrity of the ecosystems found within Nahanni National Park Reserve.
"Nahanni National Park Reserve is and always will be the traditional territory of the Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band. The Nahʔą Dehé people are proud Guardians of these lands and waters. Signing this agreement provides our community with the resources to honour this responsibility to our elders and ancestors, and gives our youth opportunities to learn and prosper as they do it."
--Chief Steve Vital, Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band
"Nahɂą Dehé Park Reserve is in the homeland of the Nahɂą Got'ı̨ę Territory. It belongs to the people of the Nahɂą Got'ı̨ę – as Nahɂą Got'ı̨ę belongs to its land."
--Grand Chief Herb Norwegian, Dehcho First Nations
"Nahanni National Park Reserve is an ecological and cultural treasure. Honouring Indigenous peoples' histories, cultures, and the special relationships they have with ancestral lands and waters – is part of our commitment to reconciliation. Signing the Ndahecho Gondié Gháádé Agreement today recognizes the deep, indelible connection Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band and Dehcho First Nations share with the land of Nahanni. This agreement will ensure Indigenous connections to the land are honoured, and integral to the protection of this wholly unique ecosystem."
--The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
"The signing of this agreement is a prime example of how positive outcomes are achieved when nations come together to work toward a common goal. It emphasizes the unwavering involvement and dedication of Indigenous peoples in the management of Nahanni National Park Reserve, and strengthens the relationship between the Government of Canada, the Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band and Dehcho First Nations."
-- Julie Dabrusin, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change
"Parks Canada, Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band and Dehcho First Nations are partners in conserving natural and cultural heritage of Nahanni National Park Reserve, and in sharing the stories of this treasured place. Let us celebrate this occasion, a day when we signed this agreement together. This is an important day for the future of Nahanni National Park Reserve, and for the benefit of all of us, and the future generations."
--Michael V. McLeod, Member of Parliament for Northwest Territories
Shared governance agreements are mechanisms to support collaboration with Indigenous peoples in various projects, such as the stewardship of Nahanni National Park Reserve.
The agreement also includes social and economic opportunities, as well as the establishment of a new structure for the cooperative management body, the Nahʔą Dehé Consensus Team, which will be supported through new administrative staff and new facilities to be constructed in Nahanni Butte.
The agreement is expected to support at least ten new jobs and three new buildings in and around Nahanni Butte.
Spearheaded in 1972 through an initiative led by then Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Government of Canada recognized the immeasurable value of this place by establishing it as a National Protected Area in 1976.
In 2009, with the support of the elders and community leaders, the park was expanded six-fold to 30, 050 km2, making it the third largest national park in Canada. Shortly after, Parks Canada, Nahʔą Dehé Dene Band and Dehcho First Nations started working towards this agreement.
With its mile-deep canyons, rugged mountain ranges, towering waterfalls, hot springs, karst topography and rich wildlife ecosystems, Nahanni National Park Reserve is a spectacular example of the vast, varied and majestic landscape Canada has to offer from coast to coast to coast. Nahanni National Park Reserve was inscribed on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1978.
In recognition of its valuable natural and recreational heritage, the South Nahanni River was designated as a Canadian Heritage River within Nahanni National Park Reserve in January 1987.
SOURCE Parks Canada
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