Thursday, May 14, 2009

An Interesting Initiative from Our Northern Neighbors

The Pimachiowin Aki (Pim-ah-chee-owe-in Ahh-key) Corporation is a non-profit corporation formed by four First Nations: Poplar River, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi and Pikangikum, Ont. Pimachiowin Aki’s goal is to achieve international recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for lands on the east side of Lake Winnipeg that straddle the Manitoba-Ontario border. The area under discussion is about 40,000 square kilometres. It includes the traditional territories of the Poplar River, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi and Pikangikum First Nations, Atikaki Provincial Park in eastern Manitoba and Woodland Caribou Provincial Park in northern Ontario.

The application for World Heritage status will include the final boundaries of the designated site and will describe the innovative ways the area will be managed using both traditional Anishinabe and western scientific knowledge. Extensive community consultations, research, mapping and comprehensive community-based, land-use planning are required to complete the nomination.

The Manitoba and Ontario provincial governments in Canada are partners with the corporation. The Manitoba government has announced $531,000 in new provincial funding to support efforts to achieve the prestigious international designation and to help east side communities develop their land use plans.

Perhaps we in the United States might emulate this Canadian initiative to develop partnerships with native Americans and state and federal governments to protect tribal lands which have both natural and cultural values of such magnitude to justify world heritage status.

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