Walking Hand in Hand
The Land Between was developed in partnership with the Indigenous Nations of the Mitchii Saagiig Territory- having worked together to build the charity’s capacity and programming since 2006.
The charity believes that reconciliation is not possible without an equal footing between the parties involved, and therefore reconciliation is not possible without the restoration of culture and capacity of the Indigenous Nations whose traditional territories we occupy. Therefore the charity works to reinvigorate, reignite and restore Indigenous cultural traditions, practices, and ways of knowing. The charity also believes that reconciliation means equal authority – walking hand and hand on the same road. Rather than simply “consulting” or engaging Indigenous peoples and communities, we seek to provide the means for equal authority and governance in our work and efforts.
In this vein, the charity operates using a hybrid style of Indigenous Traditional Governance where the Talking Circle is used for meetings, and where consensus is the mode of decision making. The Council of the charity has equal representation and equal voice at the table, and with a constitution that is evenly represented by Indigenous and western mainstream individuals. Furthermore, the charity strives to honour the treaties by having a delegate seat on the Council that is appointed by Curve Lake First Nation to represent the Nation at the table.
The deep democracy that is employed in the charity’s governance structure also inspires the projects we undertake: Here we strive to facilitate open democratic forums that support deliberative dialogue and plurality. These ways result in robust and solutions that are appropriate and innovative. The multiple perspectives within “talking circles” are necessary to achieve meaningful outcomes – also they achieve other benefits of cultivating relationships, building bridges across divides, and honouring individuals stories, experiences and insights.
Two-Eyed Seeing and Local Knowledge
The charity embraces Traditional Ecological Knowledge in all its endeavors and projects- in a practice known as two-eyed seeing (Elder Albert Marshall), where western science is valued equally to TEK. It is often discovered that this traditional knowledge and including associated spiritual teachings are often proved correct by western science. Therefore western science appears to validate rather than inform traditional knowledge.
Similarly, the charity values and embraces local place-based and “outdoor” knowledge in our efforts- understanding that first hand observations and interactions with nature, wildlife, stories and peoples can be extremely informative and important to any endeavour.