Published April 20, 2019

LONGMONT, Colo. —  In November 2018 in Denver, Colorado, First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) convened representatives of 15 tribes and Native nonprofit organizations alongside natural resource professionals and experts in Native law and policy to begin a dialogue. That dialogue was about tribal stewardship of land, natural resources and sacred sites. It was about barriers to this stewardship. It was about how traditional ecological knowledge is uniquely adapted to local environments and essential to all conservation work, and to discuss steps for enhancing tribal control of natural assets. It also was about how non-Native allies can best provide assistance to this cause.

This gathering was a rare opportunity for these groups to network, shine a light on how they approach their work, and learn from each other’s models and best practices. Now, this groundbreaking convening has been summarized in a free report from First Nations: Increasing Ecological Stewardship of Tribal Lands, Natural Resources and Historical Sites. The report is published under the aegis of First Nations’ Native Ecological Stewardship project. It was written by First Nations Senior Program Officer Mary Adelzadeh (Navajo), who at that time was an ecological/environmental consultant to First Nations.

“Native people and their traditional ecological knowledge must be valued and supported, and this report highlights effective ways to do so,” said Adelzadeh.

(To download the report, click here. You will have to enter your email address and organization/company name.)

The convening was generously funded by the 11th Hour Project of the Schmidt Family Foundation. This subsequent report was generated to provide a platform for further discussion and input, recognizing that there was only a subset of tribal and community interests represented at the meeting. The report summarizes input provided by participants and adds examples to further elaborate discussion points. The document is being used for outreach to engage tribes and Native communities, through distribution at future convenings and making it publicly available, in order to expand this work. In addition, the report will be made available to key partners and funding entities as a tool to demonstrate opportunities to support effective stewardship of tribal lands.

“We are grateful to our partners who shared their extensive knowledge and experiences at the meeting,” noted Jackie Francke (Navajo), First Nations Vice President of Programs and Administration. “It truly demonstrates shared values and a commitment to expand the use and a recognition of traditional ecological knowledge.”

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