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Pacific Indigenous Protected


Biocultural Place:

The Pacific IPCA Innovation Centre encompasses the Pacific Coast mountain regions of British Columbia (BC). This region is characterized by high biogeoclimatic diversity, including temperate rainforests, coast/marine ecosystems, estuaries, wetlands, montane/subalpine forests, alpine tundra, and glaciated peaks. Migratory salmon link forests and freshwater ecosystems to the ocean. BC is home to 204 First Nations communities including 34 Indigenous languages. Indigenous Peoples depend on salmon and other marine/freshwater species, diverse ungulate populations, berries, and native root plants. BC’s ecological abundance, stewarded for millennia by Indigenous Peoples, has suffered from colonial resource exploitation, including clearcut logging, industrial fisheries, mining, and hydroelectric dams. Indigenous Peoples are increasingly being alienated from traditional hunting, fishing, and gathering places, while large industrial farms and ranches encroach on remaining valley-bottom agricultural land for export-oriented production, compromising local and regional food security for all residents. Thus, BC’s coastal mountain regions face overlapping socio-ecological crises: Dwindling old-growth forests, declining salmon populations, endangered species, climate change (wildfires, floods, melting glaciers), loss of forestry jobs, rising food insecurity, and impacts of COVID-19 on tourism and service industries. Within Canada, BC is geopolitically distinct due to outstanding Aboriginal Rights and Title and a lack of Treaties. This has important political and jurisdictional implications for Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas (IPCAs), which have been pioneered by BC First Nations since the 1980s in the form of Tribal Parks.


Knowledge Co-Leaders:

  • Eli Enns, IISAAK OLAM Foundation

  • Pamela Shaw, Vancouver Island University


Knowledge Collaborators

  • Phalguni Mukhopadhyaya, Director, Undergraduate Program, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Victoria

  • John Borrows, Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Law, University of Victoria

  • Robin Roth, Associate Professor & Associate Chair, Department of Geography, Environment, and Geomatics; Graduate Coordinator, Masters of Conservation Leadership; Principal Investigator, Conservation Through Reconciliation Partnership, University of Guelph; Conservation Through Reconciliation Partnership

  • Olivia Sylvester, Associate Professor and Head, Department of Environment and Development, University for Peace

  • Dawn Morrison, Founder and Research Curator, Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty

  • Curtis Scurr, Director, AFN Environment Sector, Assembly of First Nations

  • Wesley Johnston, IPCA Lead, Canadian Wildlife Service, Environment and Climate Change Canada 

  • Gordon Planes, Chief Councillor, T’Sou-ke First Nation

  • Georgia Lloyd-Smith, Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law

  • Don Carruthers Den Hoed, Senior Fellow, Canadian Parks Collective for Innovation and Leadership; Research Associate, Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, Canadian Parks Collective for Innovation and Leadership

  • Pierre Iachetti, Chief Operating Officer, CleanTech Community Gateway

  • Jay Ritchlin, Director General, B.C. and Western Region, David Suzuki Foundation

  • Terry Bergen, Managing Principal, RJC Engineering

  • Lauri Thompson, Fund Manager, All One Fund 

  • Kim Hardy, Program Lead, Western Canada, MakeWay

  • Robert Barrs, Director, Way Blaze  

Other Collaborating Organizations:

  • Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region Research Institute

  • University of Victoria, University of Guelph

  • University for Peace

  • Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty

  • Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership

  • Assembly of First Nations, T’Sou-ke First Nation

  • West Coast Environmental Law

  • Canadian Parks Collective for Innovation and Leadership

  • CleanTech Community Gateway

  • David Suzuki Foundation

  • MakeWay

  • All One Fund


Hub Focus and Goals:

The Pacific IPCA Innovation Centre will bring together western science and Indigenous knowledge systems for the restoration and conservation of biocultural diversity. Partners and visiting researchers/students will include experts in conservation biology, ecology, ethnoecology, ecological restoration, Indigenous knowledge and food systems, governance, languages and cultures. The Centre will host a combination of virtual, classroom, and land-based educational programming. Regular offerings will include workshops featuring partners’ expertise, an annual conference and ceremony convening partners and collaborators with capacity building sessions on IPCAs, weekly and monthly educational retreats, and university field schools. Virtual events will be promoted through new and existing platforms and listservs. The Solutions Bundle, an IPCA website created by IISAAK OLAM and the CRP, will include multimedia case studies showcasing achievements and lessons learned. In collaboration with partners, the process of establishing, developing, and operating the Pacific IPCA Innovation Centre will be documented in written, oral, and audiovisual formats to facilitate and catalyze the establishment of additional IPCA Innovation Centres across Canada and internationally.

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