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$2.5M for Indigenous sustainability

$2.5M for Indigenous sustainability

Technology Sector Funding Government Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

$2.5M grant integrates Indigenous knowledge into sustainability projects

A UVic-based research team has received a $2.5 million grant to design and advance a sustainability framework for decision-making in Indigenous communities. The framework will ensure Indigenous values, knowledge, and concerns are at the forefront as they assess development proposals on their lands.

“This project is very critical to the empowerment and self-determination of Indigenous governments and peoples,” said Cloy-e-iis Judith Sayers, president of the Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council and a member of the project’s council of senior advisors. “Basing models on traditional knowledge and ways of knowing directs the work to be done and utilizes self-determination to its fullest. Sharing models with other Indigenous communities around the world adds to the richness of what can be contained in the models. Establishing their own indicators on what is important to each Nation is also building on governance and putting the decision making in the hands of the people.”

The Social Sciences Humanities Research Council Partnership Grant will fund The Balance Co-Lab: Collaboration for Sustainable Communities, an international collaboration of Indigenous governments, researchers, and non-governmental organizations (NGO).

"This work can advance Indigenous organizations’ ability to improve decision-making and the capacity to evaluate the impacts of development efforts in ways that are customized to place-based knowledge and needs,” said Matthew Murphy, project director of The Balance Co-Lab and UVic Gustavson School of Business professor of sustainability and strategy. “This advances the ability for Indigenous Peoples to govern their territories in ways that align with their own values and governance practices.”

Building on a system that has been used for five years with Toquaht Nation in B.C., as well as with other communities in Aotearoa New Zealand and Indonesia’s West Papua, they will co-create customized sustainability assessment systems with the goal of enhancing capacity in Indigenous organizations as they build environmental stewardship programs and evaluate development opportunities.

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