Alberta’s eight Métis settlements—Buffalo Lake, East Prairie, Elizabeth, Fishing Lake, Gift Lake, Kikino, Paddle Prairie, and Peavine (‘the Settlements’)—are situated throughout east-central and northern Alberta. They are collectively home to over 5,000 persons. Occupying about 5,112 km2 of land, these are the only Métis communities in Canada with legislated land bases; thus, they provide unique contexts for distinct, traditional Métis ways of life and cultural revitalization to flourish. As such, many community members herein have deep spiritual connections with and appreciation for their lands.
Given the centrality of ecosystem health to Métis culture, the Métis Settlements General Council (MSGC), the central governing authority of the Métis Settlements, is undertaking a conservation pre-feasibility study on areas of importance in the Athabasca region. This project entails working with the MSGC Project Manager and staff to plan and execute a number of to-be-determined studies that incorporate Métis community members’ traditional knowledge, concerns, and priorities pertinent to the Study Area into a Conservation Values Assessment (CVA). The final deliverable for this project is a conservation pre-feasibility report that outlines the CVA’s findings and other important considerations for protecting the ecological and cultural integrity of the land and water in the Study Area via an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas. NWRM is providing the biophysical capacity for this project.