Society for Cultural Anthropology
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
Colin Scott (McGill University)
Katherine Scott (McGill University)
Until recent decades, management of parks and protected areas tended to focus on the preservation of wilderness, often used to justify the exclusion of Indigenous peoples from their traditional lands and resources. Today, in Canada and elsewhere, Indigenous peoples are major players in the planning and management of protected areas. We report on the recent experience of one such group – the Cree Nation of Wemindji in Eeyou Istchee (James Bay) – in relation to their efforts to secure protected area status on a portion of their lands and seas. Their remarkable achievements over the past decade, which include the establishment of a biodiversity reserve on two major watersheds and the submission of a formal proposal for a National Marine Conservation Area in the adjacent offshore area, reflect the success of a community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnership. This paper provides an account of this partnership, outlining its evolution from an initial collaboration focused on concerns about the protection of a particular watershed to a vibrant reciprocal research partnership.