By Hans Tammemagi
Many national parks have initiated projects that enhance traditional Native values. The Fort Folly First Nation, for example, worked with staff of the Bay of Fundy National Park (in New Brunswick, with the world’s highest tides) to build an interpretive trail highlighting and describing traditional medicinal plants. At Terra Nova National Park in Newfoundland, the expertise of Miawpukek First Nation was essential in locating and mapping out the patches of rare boreal felt lichen.
When the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans closed the fishery in and around Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick, the Elsipogtog First Nation disputed how the fish stocks had been calculated and launched a reassessment that caused the government to rethink its decision. The First Nation also worked with the park to study salmon populations in the Richibucto River and to develop a restoration scheme combining aboriginal knowledge and scientific protocols. The Kouchibouguac park staff also works to help preserve Native languages and foster education programs involving Native culture.
Wood Buffalo National Park was established in the southern Northwest Territories in 1922 to protect wood bison from extinction. In an important shift in policy, it was acknowledged during the creation of this park that prohibiting the traditional activities of aboriginal peoples there would be detrimental to the habitat. Consequently, Native hunting and trapping and other activities were allowed to continue. This marked the first time Parks Canada had involved aboriginal peoples’ interests in a decision regarding park management.
Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, British Columbia
Kluane National Park, Yukon Territory
Pukaskwa National Park, Ontario
Thaidene Nene National Park Reserve, Northwest Territories
Torngat Mountains National Park, Labrador
Below: "Glaciers in Quttinirpaaq National Park."