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 equality between all parties involved, and therefore we feel that reconciliation is only made possible and meaningful when there is a restoration of the culture and capacity of the Indigenous Nations whose traditional territories we are so privileged to share. Furthermore, we firmly believe, that First Nations are inherent leaders in caring for Turtle Island (North America), and that their connections to Creation and their related knowledge and practices are essential guideposts for Canadians, to navigate our future collective wellbeing. Also, our health and welfare is inextricably tied to the health and welfare of Nature. Therefore, the charity works to support the reinvigoration, reignition and restoration Indigenous cultural traditions, practices, and systems. The charity also understands that reconciliation relates to the original Treaties, and therefore means equal authority and at the same time autonomy (self-governance), which means that reconciliation is walking together in our efforts- sharing the journey. 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, without appropriating a Clan system, but 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 voices, and western mainstream individuals. Furthermore, the charity strives to honour original agreements by a delegate seat on the Council that is appointed by Curve Lake First Nation, where our majority work takes place, 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.
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.
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.