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Responding to Balancing Forest Management and Indigenous Land Rights - Shafir and Kiersten

Environment   Oct 12, 2016 by Kiersten Sell

Our Theme: REDD(Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) and Forests: Balancing forest management and indigenous land rights of indigenous peoples.

  1. How does the assigned theme(Balancing forest management and indigenous land rights of indigenous peoples) relate to your country?

As a nation, Canada has a very rich Indigenous Culture. They’re history is intertwined with the building blocks of our country. Because they have such a strong connection with the environment, they are, perhaps, the best consultants on how climate change is affecting our nation. They have lived by the timeline of the environment and understand the early warning signs of when it is being affected. As a nation, we must work closely with our indigenous peoples to better fine-tune our response to climate change.

2.What is the current state of this theme (Balancing forest management and indigenous land rights of indigenous peoples)?

In many cases we are seeing history repeat itself. We deny the voices of those who may be best equipped to handle climate change. Against both the judgement of local indigenous people, and the recommendation of Parks Canada, the Trudeau Government has approved the construction of the site C Dam in northern BC. Though this dam will be a massive source of clean, renewable electricity, it will also destroy approximately 83 kilometers of not only sacred land, but also erase a vast untapped historical resource. Though attaining clean energy is a vital component when fighting climate change, we must also ensure we are not destroying our historical lands. The end does not always justify the means.

3.What strategies to combat climate change do you think are best/ worst for your country?

We cannot conquer climate change if we are constantly focused on fighting each other. If we are to protect and maintain our nation’s land, than we must approach the problem together. We must also emphasize the voices of our indigenous people, not dismiss them. We should listen to our experts, our history. We should remember that, though using Canada’s natural resources, such as wind and water, to create clean energy is an admirable prospect, but we must do it with respect for Canada and her great history.

4.(Shafir)How does it (Balancing forest management and indigenous land rights of indigenous peoples) relate to your country pairing? (Jordan)

Jordan Indigenous: Bedouin

Canada: Indigenous Peoples, First Nations, ie. Blackfoot.

The majority of people in Jordan are of Bedouin origin, the native group in Jordan. In contrast, most of Canada’s population are Canadians that immigrated multiple generations ago. Indigenous Peoples in Canada make up around 4 % of Canada’s population, according to the National Household Survey(NHS) of 2011. Jordan’s indigenous groups do not appear to have land claims because land was not taken from them since they had always been there and no group colonized Jordan. Canada was colonized by European settlers and land was stolen through disingenuous treaties from our Indigenous Groups. Thus, there is cooperation and conflicts between governments, Indigenous Peoples, and corporations about land rights.

5. Shafir What are your country’s future plans, and the implications for (Balancing forest management and indigenous land rights of indigenous peoples)?

Indigenous Peoples in Canada have a lot of the nation’s timber resources on their lands, so industry and the government has invested in collaborating with our Indigenous Groups. However, industry and government promote adding Indigenous principles to existing forestry methods, instead of promoting new or different methods of Indigenous forestry, built entirely on the principles of Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. This results in less sustainable and Indigenous driven foresting. The government of Canada is promoting the Aboriginal Forestry Initiative which is encouraging participation of Indigenous Peoples in forestry and knowledge transfer. It will result in increased Indigenous participation in forestry, but the methods will not be as sustainable as they could be if the government promoted indigenous lead forestry methods rather than industry lead forestry methods with indigenous values added in the fray.

Great Links:,%20Forest%20Lands%20and%20Aboriginal%20Forestry.pdf

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