Located on Treaty 6, the land of the ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐤ ᐊᐢᑭᕀ Nêhiyaw-Askiy (Plains Cree), Tsuu T'ina, MichifPiyii (Métis) and Cree, the Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) recognizes and honours the vital role Indigenous knowledge, principles, and ways of being bring to research, operations, and governance as we work together to develop a better understanding of our shared mountain ecosystems and beyond. CMN commits to braiding ethical space and Indigenous principles in everything we do, emphasizing the interconnectedness of our society, nature and our collective place in the environment. CMN affirms the rights-based self-determination of Indigenous Peoples and commits to upholding the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) commitments in all CMN undertakings.
The Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) is the country’s first formal research organization dedicated to advancing our understanding of mountain systems, which provide important benefits to Canadians living both near and far from these distinctive and iconic landscapes. CMN supports research that is centered on a holistic approach based on Indigenous and Western ways of knowing.
CMN is focused on building partnerships between Indigenous organizations and communities, universities, governments, businesses and the not-for-profit sector, who are all committed to working together to advance knowledge that is inclusive. All demonstrate a shared commitment to the sustainability of mountain environments and communities for a better future for mountain people and places in Canada and around the world.
CMN supports the resilience and health of mountain peoples and regions through research partnerships that draw on Indigenous and Western modes of knowledge to make informed decisions and interventions.
CMN is a national not-for-profit organization, established in January 2019 thanks to generous support from Canada’s research granting agencies through a five-year, $18.3 million grant from the Networks of Centres of Excellence program. Combined with contributions from diverse partner organizations, this funding represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to position Canada as a global leader in mountain systems research at a time when mountain systems are undergoing rapid and uncertain change.
CMN is also more than just a research network, it is also a training network focused on relationships and trust, and application of knowledge to local priorities. CMN hopes to contribute to reconciliation and encourage people to see that we can achieve Indigenous-led research that is relevant, respectful and generates tangible outcomes that can assist communities in growing and moving forward.
*Network members are institutions receiving CMN research and programs funding.
Enhance our understanding of the impacts of rapid environmental, economic and social change on the resilience of mountain systems.
Decision-making and actions at multiple levels are informed by both Indigenous and Western ways of knowing.
Enhanced funding for mountain systems research by improving public and policymaker understanding and appreciation of the importance of mountain systems.
A diverse and collaborative community of mountain systems researchers, including academic and non-academic Indigenous trainees, is supported to co-design and co-deliver projects with knowledge users.
Innovative models for partnerships across sectors exist and are shared that empower, respect, and, where useful, bring together Indigenous and Western knowledges and research approaches.
Why Study Mountain Systems in Canada?
Mountain systems provide essential benefits to Canadians from coast to coast to coast, including fresh water, wildlife habitat, natural resources, energy, shelter and recreation, and spiritual connection. However, these mountain systems are undergoing increasing threats to their sustainability, including climate change impacts, biodiversity loss and habitat destruction. Rapid and disruptive changes to mountain systems also foreshadow impacts to the broader landscape. Therefore, it is crucial to study mountain systems to anticipate and mitigate these impacts and harness opportunities.
While considerable expertise in mountain systems research exists in Canada, it has been limited and uncoordinated. CMN is prioritizing, designing and implementing research collaborations focusing on mountains that bring together both Western and Indigenous ways of knowing. Indigenous ways of knowing have historically not been adequately included in ecological research. CMN is intensely focused on ensuring Indigenous knowledge and leadership permeates the entire Network, as Indigenous knowledge is crucial to solving today’s complex challenges.
Through coordinated research, training, knowledge mobilization, networking and partnerships programs, CMN is increasing capacity to comprehensively observe, study, forecast, and adapt to rapid changing mountain systems in Canada.
Where Is CMN Headed in the Future?
CMN is building on its ground-breaking work of braiding Indigenous and Western knowledges developed through research in Canadian mountain regions. We are exploring a rebrand in 2024 to “Braiding Knowledges Canada” (BKC) expanding beyond mountain regions while honouring our original focus on place-based, Indigenous-led research that braids knowledges through our model for Reconciliation through Research.
In hopes of securing 5 years of funding totalling over $81M to support this transition, CMN has applied to the Government of Canada’s Strategic Science Fund (SSF) with the help of its supporters and partners. The SSF is designed to support research, training and knowledge mobilization initiatives that are aligned with federal priorities and led by not-for-profit organizations.