Stories in Canada

Working With Indigenous Peoples

In Canada, we prioritize Indigenous rights and authority in all of our work.

For over a decade, The Nature Conservancy and our Canadian affiliate has worked in partnership to support Indigenous-led conservation in Canada, which is defined and implemented by Indigenous communities, grounded in Indigenous values and perspectives, and often focuses on the interconnected issues of supporting vibrant communities, strong cultures, viable economies, and healthy ecosystems.

Theory of Change

If place-based Indigenous communities have the capacity and resources they need to manage the lands and waters in their territories, then conservation results will be effective, long-lasting, and supportive of social and economic well-being.

Why We Work With Indigenous Peoples

In Canada—and around the world—there is a long history of Indigenous peoples being denied the opportunity to participate in the decisions that impact their lands, waters and livelihoods.

Canada’s history of colonization disrupted generations of Indigenous communities, and tragedies like Residential Schools prevented the transfer of cultural knowledge to today’s youth. Boom-and-bust economic cycles driven by unsustainable development have challenged the well-being of communities who depend on the resources around them. And power imbalances at local, regional and national levels remain a challenge to Indigenous Nations as they assert their rights and authority to manage the lands and waters in their territories.

What is Indigenous-Led Conservation?

Indigenous-led conservation is articulated, defined and implemented by Indigenous peoples, who may choose to partner with organizations like The Nature Conservancy and our Canadian affiliate, Nature United, in order to advance their goals and priorities. Working together, our shared outcomes depend on strong relationships and significant investments of time, energy, and resources from all involved. It’s an approach backed by science that contributes to the resilience of people and landscapes across Canada.

And as part of an organization that impacts conservation in more than 70 countries and territories across six continents, we contribute to a global strategy for working with Indigenous peoples and local communities. We aim to support Indigenous peoples and local communities as they strengthen their voices, choices and actions to manage natural territory in ways that improve lives and drive conservation. The Nature Conservancy is a signatory to the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights  Conservation Initiative on Human Rights (CIHR).