Firelight has produced a range of publications that are free to download.
Niwh Hizskak so’ c’oh dik hibiz nilh yig – Teeyeigh nee ha be ‘it’en. Raising our Children Well – Rites of Passage for our Youth (2018)
Rites of passage and coming-of-age ceremonies are an important part of the Lake Babine Nation way of life. Rites of passage ceremonies and protocols for young men and women are centred around responsibility, respect and self care, having been passed down from one generation to the next. Traditional practices that observe a girl’s moon time teach us about their important social roles in the community and their respected place in the balhats system.
This brochure focuses on the rites of passage that build strength in young men and women as they transition from children to young adults. The aim of this brochure is to provide education and training to support and respect traditional leadership, child rearing, and caregiving roles within Lake Babine.
Contact: Janelle Kuntz
Nanh kak ejuk gweedhaa nakhwaandèe hah gwanaa’in – Watching Changes on the Land with our Eyes (2018)
The Vuntut Gwitchin Government (VGG) is currently (as of May 2018) evaluating their research priorities and approach towards environmental monitoring on their lands. The project Nanh kak ejuk gweedhaa nakhwaandèe hah gwanaa’in “Watching Changes on the Land with our Eyes” was initiated by the VGG to better understand environmental change in their traditional territory, and how this change has been tracked over time. Informed through a comprehensive literature review and a collaborative, community-informed workshop, this report documents the emerging trends and priorities of community members and VGG staff for future community-based monitoring in VGG territory.
In addition to identifying specific monitoring goals for key species that are relied on by community members, there were five overarching goals for a VGG approach to future environmental monitoring research:
- Engage youth: Ensure youth are being educated on these topics and are trained to carry on the work in the future; youth need to be given the opportunity to learn about Vuntut Gwitchin values, culture and carry on their traditional way of life;
- Support harvester monitoring: Develop a robust harvesting reporting program in the community to have a better understanding of what community members are seeing on the land, and aid in developing management plans;
- Community-based monitoring plans: Continue to finalize and implement all community-based monitoring programs, while updating the plans on a regular basis;
- Study climate change locally: Climate change is having impacts on all aspects of the ecosystem, and needs to be monitored closely on an annual basis; and
- Engage traditional knowledge: Continue to have Vuntut Gwitchin traditional knowledge, values and priorities guide environmental monitoring work and research agendas.
Contact: Janelle Kuntz
Culture and Rights Impact Assessment: A Survey of the Field (2017)
Environmental assessment (EA) practitioners have always embraced change, and welcomed new methods and approaches. The constant reinterpretation of guidance on issues of culture and rights in the Canadian regulatory and land use planning contexts highlights the flexible approach taken by practitioners in this area. Innovation in the treatments, methods, and processes for review of culture and rights is perhaps the most challenging and rewarding stretch that practitioners need to embrace.
This report examines a range of EA approaches, from standard practice to community based cultural heritage studies, each with benefits and limitations that must be taken into consideration in the context of each specific cultural, project, and assessment forum.
Prepared by Ginger Gibson and the Firelight Group for Mikisew Cree First Nation.
Contact: Ginger Gibson
Indigenous Communities and Industrial Camps: Promoting Healthy Communities in Settings of Industrial Change (2017)
This study, initiated by community leaders in the Lake Babine First Nation with the Nak’azdli Whut’en First Nation, arose from concerns expressed during pipeline review processes, about the risks experienced by women in Indigenous communities due to closely sited industrial camps. Social and cultural risks of close location of industrial camps often falls under the radar of planning processes. The report was based on key informant interviews and a workshop that brought together Indigenous community members, front line service providers, and industry and government representatives. Policies, programs and strategies were developed for regional mitigation planning for industrial camps, with a focus on promoting healthy workplaces and communities in these settings.
Contact: Ginger Gibson
Water is Everything: nipî tapîtam – An Indigenous Understanding of the Outstanding Universal Value of Wood Buffalo National Park (2016)
This report was designed to introduce a 2016 UNESCO Mission to the Mikesew Cree First Nation and their inter-relationship with the Peace-Athabasca Delta. Mikisew people rely on the delta and the health of the delta relies on the Mikisew.
This submission summarizes Mikisew knowledge of the delta, changes over time, and why Mikisew people feel the delta and its water is in danger. The report concludes with recommendations regarding what UNESCO and Canada can do to help safeguard the delta and its values for the benefit of future generations.
The Edı̨ı̨̀ Gots’ǫ Gogǫ̀hłı̨: Where We Were Born – Tłı̨chǫ Birthplace Mapping Project (2016)
This report explores the importance of birthplaces through an ethno-historical mapping project, which highlights four Tłı̨chǫ elder’s stories about birthplaces and childbirth practices. These places and the elder’s stories illuminate the importance of learning about birthplaces and listening to their words so that younger generations may carry on the Tłı̨chǫ way of life. This report highlights the inextricable links between birthplaces, dè (land) and Tłı̨chǫ identity.
Priorities and Needs for First Nations Establishing Indigenous Protected Areas in BC (2016)
The purpose of this project is to identify and address key questions and needs of First Nations and Indigenous communities interested in establishing Indigenous Protected Areas (IPAs) or similar stewardship initiatives in Canada, with a focus on British Columbia. We reviewed literature and consulted with key expert practitioners to conduct a preliminary analysis highlighting the most prominent challenges, priorities, and needs that Indigenous communities face regarding IPA establishment.
This report (which we are calling IPA Phase 1: Scoping Study) serves as preliminary scoping and foundational research for a second phase, which we anticipate will include the development of a handbook for establishing Indigenous Protected Areas in Canada.
The proposed handbook (IPA Phase 2) will synthesize and evaluate options, pathways, and strategies for communities wanting to establish IPAs, and facilitate the sharing of information and capacity among Indigenous communities working toward achieving stewardship and protected area goals.
Madziih (caribou) Tsáá? ché ne dane Traditional Knowledge and Restoration Study (2016)
Doig River First Nation worked with the Firelight Group to develop a madziih restoration plan for boreal caribou in the northeast BC portion of the Chinchaga Range. Boreal caribou populations are in steep decline across Canada as a result of cumulative effects in boreal forests. This study uses DRFN knowledge in combination with available mapped ecological data to identify and describe important madzih habitat areas, including movement corridors, calving grounds, rutting areas, over-wintering areas, and observed impacts in these areas. Based on this traditional knowledge, fourteen area-specific management recommendations are put forward in the report. This study outlines DRFN’s role in working with other governments to take steps to restore madziih habitat and to protect treaty rights for future generations.
Contact: Susan Leech
Direct to Digital Mapping Guide (2016)
Firelight’s Direct to Digital Mapping Guide is designed to assist community members in mapping points, lines and areas using Google Earth software, and gives step-by-step guidance on how to manage and store the data. The guide is best used alongside an interview guide for focused data collection specific to a community’s goals and needs. The guide is a tool used in Firelight capacity building training and workshops.
Contact: Steven DeRoy
Indigenous Traditional Knowledge Framework (2015)
The Indigenous Traditional Knowledge Framework is a policy guide to establish standards and best practices for including Indigenous Traditional Knowledge into environmental decision-making in Northeast Alberta. Firelight supported the process and authorship of the Framework, alongside 14 Indigenous communities, industry and government representatives.
Contact: Craig Candler
IBA Community Toolkit (2015)
The IBA Community Toolkit is a free resource for First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities in Canada considering impact and benefit agreements (IBAs), specifically those with mining companies. While the Toolkit focuses primarily on the mining industry, many of the issues and processes addressed in the Toolkit are relevant to the making of agreements in other industry sectors and contexts, including protected areas, oil and gas, hydro and forestry.
The goal of the Toolkit is to help communities, negotiators and consultants achieve positive agreements for Aboriginal communities.
Contact: Ginger Gibson
Sakâw Mostos: Mikisew Cree First Nation Indigenous Knowledge Study (2015)
A Mikisew Cree First Nation study to document Indigenous Knowledge of Sakâw Mostos (wood bison)
The relationship between the Mikisew Cree First Nation (MCFN) and sakâw mostos (wood bison, wood buffalo, or Bison bison athabascae) has existed since time immemorial. While wood bison are now rare and hard to find within MCFN lands, MCFN members maintain a rich set of social, cultural, and knowledge-based practices that rely largely on the presence of a single remaining wood bison herd within preferred and historically known hunting areas.
This report is the result of work conducted by MCFN with support from the Firelight Group, to document MCFN indigenous knowledge of bison, especially in the area of Ronald Lake, south of Lake Claire and in Wood Buffalo National Park.
The report includes information on the distribution of bison and Mikisew bison hunting within MCFN lands, the unique importance of bison to Mikisew members, seasonal habitat and preferred hunting areas, and conditions or requirements for the Mikisew bison hunt. The report also describes a set of positive and negative Mikisew parameters that may be useful in developing models for seasonal bison habitat.
Contact: Craig Candler
For the report, contact MCFN or The Firelight Group
Níh boghodi: We are the Stewards of our Land (2012)
An Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) stewardship strategy for thunzea, et’thén and dechen yághe jere (woodland caribou, barren-ground caribou, and wood bison)
This project involved drafting a caribou and bison protection plan to address the restoration of barren-ground caribou habitat, dwindling woodland caribou herds in the vicinity of industrial activities near the oil sands, and the pressures on a small but culturally important bison herd near Poplar Point in Alberta. The strategy was based on interviews with community members completed as part of a traditional knowledge study in 2010 and was endorsed in meetings with Elders and with Chief and Council in 2012. The strategy identifies an area for caribou and bison protection from the Firebag River north to the provincial border, including the Birch Mountains. The plan also recommends a stewardship zone in the rest of the ACFN territory in Alberta with guidelines to reduce impacts on caribou habitat.
The project was funded by the Environment Canada Aboriginal Fund for Species at Risk.
Contact: Carolyn Whittaker
Asi Edee T’seda Dile: Tłı̨chǫ Nation Traditional Knowledge and Use Study for the Proposed NICO Mine Project (2012)
The Firelight Group worked with the Tłı̨chǫ to conduct a knowledge and use study in relation to Fortune Minerals Ltd. proposed NICO Mine project. The primary goal of this study was to articulate Tłįchǫ knowledge and use values related to the proposed project area, including: use by and importance of the area to Tłįchǫ citizens (historical, current, and future); existing areas of lost use resulting from impacts by past developments in the area; and how the project is likely to influence Tłįchǫ knowledge and use, including the practice of aboriginal and Treaty rights, within and adjacent to the proposed project footprint.
Contact: Rachel Olson
As Long as the Rivers Flow: Athabasca River Knowledge, Use and Change (2010)
The Firelight Group worked with the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation to understand how Athabasca River levels and water quality change are affecting the practice of Treaty rights downstream from large oil sands facilities. Based on detailed mapping of river knowledge, use, and existing impacts, the study documents and maps a clear relationship between water quality, water levels, and the ability of First Nations to practice Treaty rights on the lower Athabasca River, in the delta, and on adjacent rivers and streams.
Contact: Craig Candler