One of Ecotrust Canada’s core principles is the recognition of Aboriginal rights and title, and we continue to work closely with First Nations communities in B.C. to support their efforts to rebuild their economies and cultures.

With their intimate connection to place, guided by the very real notion that everything is one and all is interconnected – or ‘Hishuk ish tsawalk’ in the Nuu-chah-nulth language – we know that indigenous peoples, through both their traditional knowledge and modern experiences, are fundamental to finding solutions for sustainable living.

As people-connected-to-place, First Nations resiliency incorporates both traditional and modern knowledge to understand ecosystem change. They also know that deep lessons embedded in languages and cultures are at risk of being lost forever and must be saved. For a future that looks after people, place and profits, we must work towards respecting a diversity of cultures; addressing issues of food security and public safety; and designing economic systems that add value to natural resources and use products closer to their place of origin.

There are over 370 million indigenous people in over 90 countries around the world and yet, unfortunately, indigenous people are often the most marginalized and systemically affected by historical colonial policies. Recognizing this, the work we are doing towards building a conservation economy that includes First Nations communities, their rights, and their inspirational knowledge, has never been more important.

Ecotrust Canada joins a growing number of organizations that support the full adoption and implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (download the UNDRIP fact sheet below).

On September 13, 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. At the time Canada was one of four countries in the world to vote against the Declaration; but on November 12, 2010, Canada endorsed the Declaration, “in a manner consistent with Canada’s Constitution and laws”.

The Declaration establishes international minimum standards for the survival, dignity, security and well being of indigenous peoples. More than just an aspirational document, it reflects established international human rights norms, including standards that are already legally binding as part of general and customary international law.

In supporting the UN Declaration, Ecotrust Canada continues to work with First Nations communities in B.C. and elsewhere to promote and realize practices that implement this important document in a manner that acknowledges their customs, protocols, and leadership.