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Reconciliation, resurgence, Indigenous-led conservation and the Helicat Canada toolkit

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Thesis type
(Project) M.R.M. (Planning)
Date created
Author: Crowe, Tyla
Helicat Canada (HCC)'s government issued tenures stretch over the lands and waters of almost every Indigenous community in British Columbia. As a sector in a unique position of caring for, being connected to, and making profits from the land, this research investigates how HCC businesses can move forward in meaningful acts of reconciliation and support Indigenous Peoples interests within their tenure area. 19 surveys and 13 key informant interviews with HCC operators, Indigenous leaders, and provincial government officials informed the qualitative research findings that helped to shape the creation of the HCC Strategic Engagement Toolkit for reconciliation (the Toolkit). The qualitative data was also used to assess key approaches, areas for growth, and recommendations for HCC and its member operators, and helped to guide the sections of the Toolkit based on respondent's priorities and educational gaps. The information and guidance presented in the Toolkit was developed with a combination of academic literature, Indigenous history, settler-colonial studies, de-colonial research methods, government policy, and industry related best practices. Utilizing Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), best practices for engagement, and the creation of mutually beneficial economic arrangements, this research project demonstrates that Indigenous Nations in B.C. are interested in benefitting in significant ways from the Helicat industry and that mutually beneficial arrangements are both presently occurring and highly feasible. Grounding the Toolkit in a more activist and academic angle, this paper posits that reconciliation between settler Canada and Indigenous Peoples goes beyond finalizing economic opportunities, improving individual relationships, and educating staff. For reconciliation in these lands to occur, settler-colonialism must be challenged and settlers must centre Indigenous Knowledges and governance systems within and outside the state. Unpacking what this can look like under a system of colonial-capitalism, I argue that Indigenous-led conservation within the growing movement of Indigenous Protected and Conserved areas (IPCAs) acts as an operational pathway for meaningful and tangible actions that centre Indigenous resurgence, protect eco-cultural systems, and support settler-Indigenous processes of reconciliation. Although there are significant legal and structural challenges in securing and implementing IPCAs in Canada, Indigenous-led conservation areas are clearly in alignment with reconciliation and resurgence movements and offer immense benefits to Indigenous communities and ecosystems under threat.
67 pages.
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