Alliance of Canadian Land Trusts Statement on Indigenous Conservation and Engagement

Through its work, the Alliance of Canadian Land Trusts acknowledges and expresses our gratitude for the lands, sky, and waters stretching across Canada, and the animals and plants who call it home. We are grateful for their beauty and bounty, and we thank Indigenous peoples who were and are the traditional guardians of this land. We are grateful for the land, sharing of knowledge, medicine, and much more.

Canada has been home since time immemorial to the ancestors of First Nation, Métis peoples, and Inuit. As a national organization, ACLT operates in various parts of Canada, and we acknowledge that many ACLT employees and volunteers are settlers working and living on traditional territories of the First Peoples of this land.  The history and continuing process of colonization by non-Indigenous peoples have caused fundamental harm and disruption to Indigenous ways of life, culture, and relationship with the land, spirit, and all our relations.

We recognize that the work of land trusts relies on a colonial legal framework that uses tools such as exclusive land ownership and that it is important for the land trust community to understand how our work affects Indigenous Peoples and all our relationships with the land in ways both positive and negative.

We believe that, as a community, we need to learn about, engage with and seek to understand the impact of our work on the Indigenous nations and communities in whose territories we work, and allow this knowledge to guide our actions, to honor our ongoing commitment to decolonization, and actions to create right relations and address injustice with all Indigenous Peoples.

ACLT is committed to valuing differences, and learning how to foster equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, and social justice in all its work.

Ethical space is a place where traditional oral practices and Western written practices are paralleled, leveraging the strengths of the respective processes to co-create a safe place to design, develop, validate, and work together in harmony, bridging the gap between cultures and activating meaningful reconciliation.

ACLT continues to work towards advancing Indigenous conservation partnerships, which include:

  • Collaborating with Indigenous peoples and institutions to develop training for ACLT and land trusts that provides a foundation, focused on increasing knowledge of Indigenous histories, past and current experiences, and contemporary values, culture, and protocols;
  • Connecting and learning from Indigenous advisors and building relationships with Indigenous nations and communities in whose territories we work, to ensure our strategic direction and operational activities are aligned with Indigenous community priorities and encourage our conservation partners to do the same;
  • Using our knowledge and experience to support Indigenous communities interested in exploring the land trust model to advance reconciliation through land conservation.

ACLT will use the following Modes of Action:

  • To be inclusive of Indigenous peoples within ACLT;
  • Work with conventional land trusts to enhance their relationship with Indigenous communities in their territories;
  • Enable capacity building by Indigenous land trusts;
  • Support Indigenous-led conservation;
  • Promote relationship-building with Indigenous peoples.