Manitoba’s Seal River Watershed Embarks on a Historic Journey to Become an Indigenous Protected Area

Aboriginal Rights | OKT | Resources and Environment

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

There aren’t many truly pristine spaces left in North America, but the Seal River Watershed in Northern Manitoba is one of them. As the homeland of Dene, Cree and Inuit peoples since long before Europeans came to this land, it is the perfect location for Manitoba’s first Indigenous Protected Area.

Recently, the parties announced a memorandum of understanding between the Seal River Watershed Alliance, Canada, and Manitoba, to work towards the creation of an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA) covering the Seal River Watershed. OKT, led by Larry Innes, a partner in our Yellowknife office, has had the privilege of assisting the Alliance to reach this milestone. Larry and OKT have previously participated in negotiations which led to Canada’s first Indigenous Protected Area – Thaidene Nëné in the Northwest Territories.

Indigenous Protected Areas are an exciting new tool being used by Indigenous peoples in different parts of Canada to reassert their sovereignty and self-determination in the territories they have been stewards of for generations. They facilitate Indigenous peoples having control over the mechanisms of protection and use, while also promoting economic development through ecotourism opportunities as well as training and jobs related to Indigenous Guardian programs, for example.

While the first Indigenous Protected Areas in Canada were created in the Northwest Territories, other jurisdictions are now beginning to see the benefits to all Canadians that these agreements create. OKT is proud to be working with several clients to advance this work.

OKT would like to congratulate the Sayisi Dene, Northlands Denesuline, Barren Lands and O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Nations on this exciting achievement.

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