How do Indigenous communities in Canada balance the development needs of a growing population while maintaining cultural commitments and responsibilities as stewards of their lands and waters? Caring for Eeyou Istchee recounts the extraordinary experience of the James Bay Cree community of Wemindji, Quebec, who partnered with a multi-disciplinary research team to protect territory of great cultural significance in ways that respect community needs and circumstances. This volume tackles fundamental questions: What is “environmental protection”? What should be protected? What factors inform community goals? How does the natural and cultural history of an area inform protected area design? How can the authority and autonomy of Indigenous institutions of land and sea stewardship – and the knowledge integral to them – be respected and reinforced? In answering these questions, Indigenous and non-Indigenous contributors present a comprehensive account of one of the world’s most dynamic coastal environments. In so doing, they address a multiplicity of ways in which the Cree people and their territories are deeply intertwined, the complex trans-institutional processes and policies that they navigate, and the potential of protected area creation to build upon and to support Indigenous stewardship, biological conservation, and cultural heritage.
This book will appeal to those working in or studying environmental protection and protected areas, Indigenous self-determination and governance, northern development, and the ecology of Subarctic and Arctic regions.
More and more, scientific researchers and Indigenous communities are joining forces to search for answers to the environmental concerns of today. Told through the perspective of culture and community, this book offers an account of one of those partnerships and the land they were able to protect. A must-read for sure!
Caring for Eeyou Istchee is an urgently needed book. It contributes to protected area establishment, Indigenous co-governance, and northern ecology, while responding to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report and recommendations. Indigenous resurgence in Canada is demanding more from non-Indigenous allies; this offers a very timely example of good allyship in practice.
Monica E. Mulrennan is a geographer and associate vice-president of research, at Concordia University. She works closely with Indigenous coastal communities on topics related to Indigenous knowledge, stewardship, and conservation. Colin H. Scott is an anthropologist at McGill University. He directs the Centre for Indigenous Conservation and Development Alternatives and the Indigenous Stewardship of Environment and Alternative Development research program. Katherine Scott is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at McGill University. She is a heritage research coordinator in the Cree Nation of Wemindji’s Department of Culture and Wellness.
Contributors: Fikret Berkes, Jennifer Bracewell, François Brassard, Véronique Bussières, Gail Chmura, Andre Costopoulos, James W. Fyles, Julie Hébert, Eva Hulse, Murray M. Humphries, Grant Ingram, Dustin Keeler, Ugo Lapointe, Rodney Mark, Greg Mikkelson, Heather E. Milligan, Wren Nasr, Jari Okkonen, Claude Péloquin, Florin Pendea, Jason Samson, Jesse S. Sayles, Dorothy Stewart, Samuel Vaneeckhout, Kristen Whitbeck, Colin D. Wren
Speaking for Ourselves
Environmental Justice in Canada
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