A Grassroots, Responsive, Non-government Organization
Honoring the Original Treaties
The Land Between organization recognizes that we are priveleged to live on this Land because of the generosity of First Nations, and we also recognize the enduring and inherent rites of the First Nations. We understand the value of Ecological Traditional Knowledge and First Nations Worldviews. Too we recognize the generosity and wisdom of First Nations in developing the original treaties. Here it was agreed to share the Land, for First Nations to lead the way in understanding the Land, and for each Nation (First Nations and the Crown) to retain their rights and freedoms in the partnership- self governance. These agreements are recorded in, (having informed) the British North America Act, and therefore and still in the Constitution of Canada. Therefore The Land Between organization strives to honor these agreements and this heritage by operating with at least half First Nation peoples on our Council and with a delegate on our Council that is appointed to represent the major Territory's First Nations where our work takes place, which at this time is with the Williams Treaty Nations, and specifically central TLB being Curve Lake First Nation.
Despite these facts, The Land Between is first a landscape and a place. The charity, is an organization whose goals are to engage the public in connecting, caring and conserving nature. Therefore, and in any case, we do not represent any First Nations or their territories, nor do we speak for any First Nation. Instead, we hope to continue and expand our partnerships with First Nations, and our engagement and honouring of the Nations across this region, as we build capacity.
Representative, good governance using Original models for deep democracy
The Land Between bylaws are the first bylaws in Canada to embody the Traditional Talking Circle as a model of governance, and using consensus for our decision making model. (See The Land Between Bylaws_Feb_2011)
Our principles are also based on the Seven Grandfather Teachings of First Nations and therefore on equal voice, and respect. (See The Land Between Council_Principles and Policies)
A. The Chief operates in response to the Council, and is responsible for all strategic operations.
B. The Council advises the Chief, and without hierarchy reaches decisions through consensus. The Council represents the grassroots perspective and is made up of landowners and "non-experts": the common person. In this way the Council represents the community, understanding through felt experience, the needs and impacts at the most basic level.
C. The Circle is an advisory group of experts, which the Chief and Council use in assisting with guidance and feeback, including peer reviews, for research and projects. The Circle includes partner agencies and experts from educational institutions, non-government agencies, and local and provincial governments. The Circle, while providing advise, has no decision-making powers within the organization. In this way, The Land Between has adopted an Original democratic governance model, that removes self-interest and bias and represents the concerns of the community. To understand more about the values, principles and governance model of The Land Between, read: Around the Circle in 365 days
Reciprocity and Efficiency: Partnerships and Collaboration
The Land Between always works in partnership with existing groups and agencies, municipalities, and large NGOs. In this way we efficiently and effectively reach goals, without duplication of effort and with complementary benefits. Partnerships build capacity across the sector and ensure that actions are reflective of needs in communities. View the list of TLB partners
The charity also ensures that work is done across-Sectors and multi-level jurisdictions, honoring relationships and strengths between organizations and mandates.
To be meaningful, change must span levels. Therefore, TLB works proactively to engage stakeholders and authorities at all levels, from the landowner to the government- providing input, information, and tools as well as benefits to each.
The Land Between uses two-eyed seeing to inform its priorities and decisions. First Nations worldviews, teachings, knowledge and traditions stem from the land and are passed on in an oral tradition through generations. First Nations Elders and even colonial Elders note changes in the environment and world at large. “Two-eyed seeing” is an exercise that marries First Nation’s traditional ecological knowledge with western science to extract and result in the best understanding and solution. First Nations scholar and teacher Elder Albert Marshall (Mik’maw) coined the phrase “two eyed seeing” meaning that we “learn(ing) to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous knowledge and ways of knowing, and from the other eye with the strengths of Western knowledge and ways of knowing ... and learning to use both these eyes together, for the benefit of all.”
Responsive Operations and Business Model
The Land Between also respects the economy of the region and honors its capacity and entrepreneurial spirit through its daily operations; TLB leaders and staffing are supplemented by local contractors and experts. In this way TLB supports the local economy, reduces administration overhead, and is agile, accountable, and aligned with the current markets and trends.
The Spirit of Generosity; of Hope and Giving
Love comes before money.
The Land Between chooses its goals wisely and focuses on Good work.
Since its inception in 2006 until 2019, Leora Berman, our COO has not drawn a full or regular salary! Instead, she has done what has been required to build and run the organization by donating her time and skills. Leora is still compensated only for operational active roles that are part of successful grants and projects. Leora is a rare person, who has taken personal risks to move the charity forward. While the charity has a set goal and remuneration wage for the COO position, that is comparable to other charities of this scale, the organization is working towards core unrestricted funding to support its Leadership and staff.
The Land Between strives for Bioregionalism: Community in Action
Bioregionalism is a holistic and animate approach to conservation: It encompasses and honours all the relationships that exist between and across features, but also sectors. It understands that a region, from the land to the people, are interdependent and interrelated, and that each is unique in its patterns and character. Bioregionalism is based on the knowledge that Nature informs Culture and which fosters the Economy and Wellbeing of people.
The Land Between's vision is for animated and active bioregionalism; where a sense of place is instilled in the residents of the region resulting in an identity and behaviors of celebration and conservation for the unique features of the region and the relationships that exist between them.
Therefore the Land Between charity's ultimate goal is to become redundant! When people celebrate and behave in a way that is congruent to the land and its features and fellows, an organization will not be needed.
We understand that everything comes from the Land; our resources, our patterns of movement, consumption, and creativity, our economies, and therefore our culture and identity. We strive to maintain and communicate this intimate relationship with the natural land around us.
Nature is animate and dynamic, with systems and processes that are integral and illusive. If the natural capital is in tact much like a capital investment, nature will renew itself and provide valuable ecosystem services for our lives. Therefore our goal is to preserve Nature's capacity for renewal through facilitating land stewardship and securement, especially within connected priority areas.
Diversity, Equality and Relationships - Reciprocity
We learn from difference. Difference makes us stronger and smarter. Diversity in the form of genes, species, peoples and perspectives serve to enrich our lives making our efforts more meaningful, and then our actions more responsive and resilient. Honoring the diversity of knowledge and perspectives provides new insights and opportunities for new solutions. Diversity depends on equality; equal voice in decisions across the spectrum of stakeholders and including the consideration for those without voice (future generations and wildlife). The Land Between operates without hierarchy, by consensus, and honoring diversity.
Our goals for conservation and renewal are not only based on a healthy Natural foundation, but is only possible through our relationships with one another and our connections to nature as well. Therefore the cultivation of relationships and open dialogue are pivotal to our organizational culture and our operations. Collaboration is essential for success. In this way too, we ensure that we do not duplicate efforts and that we support the capacity of all of our partners, and we engage with our communities and First Nations as we grow and in order to grow; to understand needs and to find solutions. We understand community as a verb- it needs to be practiced. Finally, we understand the interconnected fabric of the earth and humanity and honour these relationships- doing our best to give back to both as we move through the world.
Relevance and Responsibility
Because of our relationships including having and grassroots and representational Council and our many community partners, we continually investigates needs across the region to identify needs and gaps. We choose relevant projects that provide multiple benefits across sectors, levels and which are always conducted in collaboration with multiple partners including community groups. We put our communities and therefore our goals before self-interests. Therefore our budget and operations are reflective of the needs as identified within our strategy and as expressed through partners and communities. The majority of our funds at over 85% are directed to projects over administration.
The Land Between was developed through grassroots efforts by community leaders. The organization operates efficiently and transparently by hosting open meetings, posting meeting minutes and annual reports. We are beginning to assign specific metrics for measuring achievements and where we can estimate costs against these outcomes. In this way we can more accurately report our impact to our communities.
Bravery, Honesty, and Respect
The Land Between puts Spirit, Nature and People before itself.
People are surprised that the Land Between is not government funded, but rather the result of individual efforts: of two people devoting time and effort and with a group of wonderfully supportive folks around the table. The organization was founded on volunteerism, grants, donations, partnerships, and sales....and on love, sweat and tears! This should be celebrated in today's day and age; it is about traditional values, community, and inclusive leadership. This is a unique region with a creative economy and of great Spirit. Therefore, the organization's constitution is a true reflection of the communities within this region.