Cree Regional Conservation Vision & Goals
Our Vision is to maintain strong ties to the Cree cultural heritage and way of life, and sustain biodiversity by creating a large, interconnected network of conservation areas in Eeyou Istchee.
1) To create an interconnected network of conservation areas of cultural and ecological importance for the safeguarding of biodiversity.
These areas will serve as the building blocks for an interconnected network of protected areas and conservation areas, and assist in the planning and evaluation of proposals for industrial development.
2) To conserve wildlife populations and enhance food security for present and future generations
As a hunting society, the Cree culture is grounded in hunting, fishing and trapping. A key driver for the conservation planning is therefore the sustainable use of key wildlife species. Protecting key habitat areas and facilitating the free movement of these species will help them thrive. Healthy and abundant wildlife populations in turn ensure food security for the Crees. Food security is a key concern as the Cree population is growing rapidly and the nutritional and cultural contribution of traditional food is highly valued. Particular wildlife species that have been classified “at risk” - such as the forestry dwelling Woodland Caribou - will require particular attention to this strategy.
3) To ensure full Cree participation in conservation planning and management
Crees need to be fully engaged in decision making and planning for all conservation initiatives in Eeyou Istchee. This will require the building of effective working relationships and partnerships with provincial, federal and regional governments, academia, environmental groups, stakeholders and neighboring aboriginal nations.
4) To ensure that Cree knowledge, culture and land management systems are central in all conservation initiatives undertaken as part of the Strategy
Cree knowledge, cultural values and land management systems must play a key role in conservation planning and management initiatives. This includes the Cree trapline management system and the important role of the tallyman within this system, incorporating the knowledge of Elders, the use of Cree place names (or toponyms), culturally-adapted protected area management approaches, and the development of Cree tourism and outfitting opportunities.
5) To build Cree capacity for conservation planning and management
Planning and managing a regional network of protected areas and conservation areas will require training and capacity building, so that Crees are well positioned for opportunities related to this work. It will be important to further build this capacity at the community and regional levels.
6) To ensure that Cree Youth are engaged in all stages of the Strategy.
The involvement of Cree Youth is essential to the continuation of Cree knowledge and practices. This knowledge is the foundation upon which this Strategy and related management initiatives will be built. The transmission of knowledge and learning how to act responsibly will be introduced in the activities related to the implementation stages of the strategy. Young Cree men and woman need to be active participants in the development and implementation of conservation approaches.
7) To integrate key conservation science principles into conservation network planning
Conservation science principles and concepts that are useful for building a conservation areas network include: 1) representation of the full range of ecosystem types; 2) maintenance of populations of all native species in natural patterns of abundance and distribution (including species at risk); 3) maintenance of ecological processes and naturally functioning ecosystems; and 4) maintenance of ecosystem resilience to environmental change.
8) To ensure that the Strategy is adaptive and based on the best available knowledge
The Strategy needs to be adaptive. This requires it to respond to the best available knowledge and to provide for regulation, monitoring, reporting, review, as well as opportunities for reflection and feedback. Dedicated efforts will be made to draw on best practices from elsewhere, experiment where possible, foster social learning, and maintain openness to revising and adjusting plans and decisions.