Together for Wildlife - Goal 5

Collaboration advances reconciliation with Indigenous governments

We will endeavor to improve government-to- government relationships; support training and capacity; inform ourselves about Indigenous worldviews, perspectives, and approaches; and ensure that all British Columbians understand the rights of Indigenous peoples and their integral role in wildlife stewardship.

Together for Wildlife First Nations wildlife forum.The Together for Wildlife strategy will create new opportunities to work collaboratively with Indigenous governments to effectively and efficiently deliver wildlife stewardship. We will know that our work together is successful when Indigenous rights are recognized by society as foundational to how the Province and Indigenous governments steward wildlife and when Indigenous peoples can meaningfully practise their traditions and customs.

The Province has a special constitutional relationship with Indigenous peoples. The Constitution Act, 1982 recognizes and affirms existing Aboriginal and treaty rights. Indigenous governments are not stakeholders.

It is the Province’s intention to shift our relationship with Indigenous governments to ensure our work is based on recognition and respect for the inherent right of Indigenous peoples to govern themselves and play an integral role in the stewardship of our shared natural resources.

The Province acknowledges that, consistent with existing laws and provincial policy, First Nations have first access to wildlife to meet their food, social, and ceremonial needs, now and in the future.

Success also means that wildlife stewardship is delivered in partnership with Indigenous governments and that we continually endeavour to help build their capacity. Together, we must always work to improve government-to-government relationships, inform ourselves about Indigenous worldviews, perspectives, and approaches, and ensure that all British Columbians understand the rights of Indigenous peoples and their role in wildlife stewardship.

We commit to the following Actions 18-24 to achieve Goal 5

We will continue to advance policy and legislative analysis to more fully understand and advance co-management and shared decision-making models and approaches with Indigenous governments in British Columbia. As co-management partners, Indigenous governments and the Province will together define the scope, mandate, and function of the arrangements to be used.

Action 18 - work completed in 2020-2021

  • Established a Working Group of the FN Forum to advance this action
  • Aligned Forum Working Group with Environmental Stewardship Initiative (ESI) and Collaborative Stewardship Framework (CSF) Communities of Practice, to ensure collective efforts achieve common goals
  • Reviewed Wildlife Act and policy to identify constraints and opportunities for change to support/enable co-management
  • Inventoried fish and wildlife tables under existing Government to Government (G2G) agreements

Action 18 - work underway/planned for 2021-2022

  • Define shared decision-making and consent-based decision making under the BC Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (BC Declaration Act) through Shared Decision-Making Framework Project
  • Pilot Section 7 agreements of the Declaration Act, where mandate approved
  • Support the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation (MIRR) in negotiation of G2G agreements
  • Identify governance approach and capacity needs to ensure Indigenous governments can fully participate in shared decision-making

With the First Nations–B.C. Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Forum, we will jointly develop communication and extension materials to educate and inform British Columbians about the nature of Aboriginal rights and title, modern and historical treaties, Indigenous worldviews, and Indigenous use of wildlife and wildlife stewardship approaches. We will engage with Indigenous governments on draft communication materials.

Action 19 - work completed in 2020-2021

  • Established a Working Group of the First Nations Forum to advance this action

Action 19 - work underway/planned for 2021-2022

  • Define scope and approach for communications and extension Working Group, rooted in Indigenous Knowledge, culture, and education
  • Establish the FN Forum website and add educational material
  • Create FN cultural educational materials and questionnaires for licenced hunters and trappers
  • Review the Core Manual

We will incorporate Indigenous knowledge into statutory and non-statutory wildlife stewardship decision-making through the collaborative development of policies and procedures. These policies and procedures will provide direction and guidance for provincial government staff in order to ensure a consistent approach across the province. Jointly with the First Nations–B.C. Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Forum, we will draft a policy and engage with Indigenous governments.

Action 20 - work completed in 2020-2021

  • Established a Working Group of the FN Forum to advance this action
  • Shared Indigenous Knowledge (IK) with operations staff and statutory decision makers to inform both statutory and non-statutory wildlife decisions

Action 20 - work underway/planned for 2021-2022

  • Create policy and procedure manual for including IK in wildlife decision making
  • Identify priority opportunities to incorporate IK into decisions, at the Nation and Provincial level (statutory and non-statutory)
  • Build on existing strategies and approaches developed collaboratively with First Nations

We will evaluate, in collaboration with participating Indigenous governments, existing guardian and compliance projects with a focus on wildlife and habitat stewardship. Building on successes identified in the evaluation, we will develop an approach for a formal compliance program that will be implemented locally with Indigenous governments at their request.

Action 21 - work completed in 2020-2021

  • Inventoried the current suite of provincial Indigenous Guardian Programs, and recommended aspects of a future program
  • Worked with MIRR to secure funding from the Indigenous Funding Envelope to implement Indigenous Guardian Programs

Action 21 - work underway/planned for 2021-2022

  • Create partnerships with other initiatives to leverage knowledge and funds
  • Reviewing existing Guardian and Integrated Monitoring Programs, from an Indigenous perspective, recognizing their potential as a key mechanism for realizing Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and sections 19-24 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)
  • Align with the Collaborative Stewardship Forums, identify mechanisms for improved wildlife management through compliance, effectiveness monitoring, habitat monitoring/assessment, training and education
  • Apply Indigenous Knowledge to the provincial compliance and enforcement regime

We will invest to develop models and approaches for sharing wildlife and habitat data and information with Indigenous governments. These models and approaches will include agreements and technologies that allow Indigenous governments to share Indigenous knowledge and community and food-security needs with the Province in order to support co-management and shared decision-making.

Action 22 - work completed in 2020-2021

  • Collaboratively developed short-term Wildlife Act amendment proposals to support reconciliation, and engaged with First Nations
  • Conducted policy analyses to support short-term Wildlife Act amendments
  • Started to compile issues and recommendations for longer-term Wildlife Act improvements

Action 22 - work underway/planned for 2021-2022

  • Share information with the FN Forum (e.g., Skeena IK Framework, Data Management Working Group of CSF and ESI), to build on existing work in a way that works for the Together for Wildlife strategy and forum members
  • Create a Data Management Framework to meet the needs of Wildlife and Habitat Management, from a collective Forum perspective
  • Support implementation of a Data Management Framework

We will invest in capacity to ensure Indigenous governments can effectively and efficiently participate in all aspects of wildlife stewardship. We will develop pilot initiatives to involve collectives of Indigenous governments to deliver trusted information to support shared stewardship.

Action 23 - work completed in 2020-2021

  • Leveraged other sources of funding, such as Indigenous Funding Envelope, CSF/ESI and support for Government to Government agreements (where the terms of G2G's speak to collaborative wildlife and habitat management)

Action 23 - work underway/planned for 2021-2022

  • Review existing systems for revenue generation and conduct a gap analysis for community needs
  • Establish a Working Group to identify sub-tasks - start with Forum members and their communities, then ESI and CSF Nations
  • Source funding for capacity building for nations
  • Identify opportunities for long-term capacity support, to reflect breath and scope of Forum work

We will create and support the operation of a formal First Nations–B.C. Wildlife and Habitat Conservation Forum to provide Indigenous perspectives on the development of policies and legislation that will support wildlife and habitat stewardship across provincial government programs and with Indigenous governments throughout British Columbia.

Action 24 - work completed in 2020-2021

  • Reviewed Forum governance
  • Updated Terms of Reference
  • Developed a work plan and began delivery of priority actions

Action 24 - work underway/planned for 2021-2022

  • Continue to support all aspects of the Forum (policy work, alignment with Council, etc.)