Launched in 2019 with the support of the Networks of Centres of Excellence program and other partners, the Canadian Mountain Network (CMN) is Canada’s first formal research organization dedicated to advancing our understanding of mountain systems. The Network has come into existence at a time when Canada’s mountain systems are undergoing rapid and uncertain change. CMN’s mission is to support the resilience and health of Canada’s mountain peoples and places through research partnerships based on Indigenous and Western ways of knowing that inform decision-making and action.
Our first year of work is detailed in our recently published 2019-2020 Annual Report, which includes information on our multidisciplinary research projects, Indigenous-led research, training activities, knowledge mobilization activities, and other Network highlights. In our first full year of operations, we recruited a stellar Board of Directors and committees, released our Strategic Plan, shared new episodes of the Canadian Mountain Podcast, and launched 16 exciting research projects in British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Quebec, and Labrador.
CMN’s research program includes:
CMN has focused on developing and nurturing diverse partnerships with talented researchers, trainees, and volunteers across Canada from post-secondary institutions, governments, Indigenous communities, businesses, and the not-for-profit sector. All are contributing to the sustainability of mountain environments and communities across the country and around the world.
We have also strongly advocated for bringing multiple ways of knowing to the table to inform and enhance decision-making, including Indigenous and Western knowledge approaches. Forty percent of CMN’s research funding supports research that is led by Indigenous communities and based on Indigenous ways of knowing and doing.
Affirming the validity of Indigenous research approaches, as well as building a greater awareness and understanding of those approaches by all network participants, is critical to deliver on CMN’s vision and mission. For example, CMN has launched the three-year Canadian Mountain Assessment, a landmark initiative to answer fundamental questions about the state of knowledge of Canada’s mountain systems informed by both Indigenous knowledge and Western science. CMA’s inclusive, participatory development and review procedures provide an important example of collaboration and reconciliation activities for network participants.
Finally, CMN is working with the Networks of Centres of Excellence program to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on our researchers and other partners. We anticipate that the pandemic will have significant but differentiated impacts on all of CMN’s funded projects and are committed to supporting our research teams to mitigate and/or accommodate those impacts. Safety is of paramount concern and more detail about our adapted activities can be found in the Annual Report.
Mountain research has a bright future in Canada and for that we must acknowledge and thank the many individuals who have supported this initiative through their knowledge, wisdom, and tireless effort. We look forward to continuing to grow these relationships and building new partnerships in the years ahead to advance mountain research in Canada.