Our Commitment to Reconciliation
“Nature has rights, and people have responsibilities.” Dr. Elder Albert Marshall, Eskasoni
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-New Brunswick Chapter works on the traditional, unceded and unsurrendered territory of the peoples of the Wabanaki Confederacy, including the Wolastoqiyik, Mi’gmaq and Peskotomuhkati Peoples. This territory is governed by the Treaties of Peace and Friendship which were signed with the British Crown in the 1700s. These treaties did not deal with the surrender of lands and resources, but in fact recognized Mi’gmaq and Wolastoqiyik and Peskotomuhkati title and established the rules for what was to be an ongoing relationship between nations.
We are all Treaty peoples. As we work to protect these lands and waters, we are committed to recognizing the essential leadership of Indigenous stewards who continue to care for them, including Elders, Knowledge Holders, and communities.
Working together on shared responsibilities to the lands and waters, to wildlife, and to each other, is a key part of our ongoing Treaty relationships and collective kinships with nature.
For CPAWS NB, taking steps toward decolonization in the conservation sector means:
- Communicating with Indigenous Peoples and following their definition of what proper Reconciliation actions need to be taken.
- Honouring treaties and Indigenous land claims.
- Ensuring Reconciliation is a continuous and ongoing process and not a singular action.
- Understanding the damage of colonization on Indigenous Peoples and the environment and working towards shifting concepts and perspectives in environmental conservation and protection.
We acknowledge Reconciliation is our responsibility, and it is not up to us to define what it looks like. We undertake this journey with respect, compassion, and awareness, understanding the damage done through past and existing colonial institutions and practices. We have much to learn and there is healing to be done. We recognize that this commitment is just a step in our ongoing journey.
We will be guided by the principles of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and draw inspiration from the following wisdom:
“Reconciliation between [Indigenous] and non-[Indigenous] Canadians, from an [Indigenous] perspective, also requires reconciliation with the natural world. If human beings resolve problems between themselves but continue to destroy the natural world, then reconciliation remains incomplete. This is a perspective that we as Commissioners have repeatedly heard: that reconciliation will never occur unless we are also reconciled with the earth.”
– “Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, What We Have Learned: Principles of Truth and Reconciliation, 2015, p. 123.”
For more information about Indigenous peoples in the territory of the Wabanaki Confederacy (including all of what we call New Brunswick), we strongly recommend these web sites:
Kopit Lodge (Elsipogtog First Nation): www.kopitlodge.org
Mi’gmawe’l Tplu’taqnn Incorporated: https://migmawel.org/
Peskotomuhkati Nation at Skutik: https://qonaskamkuk.com
Wolastoqey Nation in New Brunswick: http://wnnb.wolastoqey.ca