Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation to present Thaidene Nene at World Parks Congress in Sydney, Australia

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November 13, 2014

Sydney, Australia: Steven Nitah, Chief Negotiator for Thaidene Nene for the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation (LKDFN), is presenting the innovative park concept for the East Arm of Great Slave Lake that his community is negotiating with Parks Canada to an international audience at the World Parks Congress. Mr. Nitah’s presentation will focus on the community’s efforts to create a sustainable and prosperous future that balances conservation of a traditional lifestyle and the environment, with economic growth.

In recognition of their innovative and collaborative efforts to protect the 33,000 km2 core of their traditional homeland and age-old traditions, the LKDFN were selected from many hundreds of international applications to present their vision and work to protect Thaidene Nene at the World Parks Congress. In addition to giving a presentation on Thaidene Nene, Mr. Nitah will be speaking at the “Nature Needs Half” event at the Congress, co-hosted by the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, the WILD Foundation and the Zoological Society of London.

Held every 10 years by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Parks Congress is a landmark global forum, which focuses on protected areas around the world. The 2014 theme, “Parks, people, planet: inspiring solutions” provides a week-long venue for international delegates to share knowledge and innovation, setting the agenda for protected areas conservation for the decade to come.

“I want to thank the indigenous peoples of Australia and the IUCN for the opportunity to share my community’s efforts and gain international support for Thaidene Nene. In my heart, I feel the importance of establishing and protecting Thaidene Nene, not only for my people, but for the world itself. All of us live on the Earth somewhere, and the land and all that is living is dear to our hearts – it’s important that the international community sees this. We love our homeland like we love our families, this is why we want to protect it; it’s our way, our denechán’i,” says Gloria Enzoe, Thaidene Nene Program Manager.

During the spring of 2000, a rush of mineral and energy development exploration began in this area, threatening to fragment the lands and waters upon which the Lutesl K’e Dene depend for food, medicine, and spiritual life. The LKDFN is currently negotiating with Parks Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories to establish Thaidene Nene as an innovative new kind of protected area by 2016 – before a moratorium on staking claims ends.

The Lustel K’e Dene have partnered with other organizations to achieve their vision of establishing Thaidene Nene. The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is organizing public outreach events to share the benefits of establishing Thaidene Nene with a wider audience. The Canadian Boreal Initiative has been supporting this project for the past seven years. The Nature Conservancy (U.S.) is supporting the community’s efforts to establish environmental education programs for LKDFN youth and a trust fund to support the First Nation’s management and operational responsibilities, including development of eco-tourism infrastructure, experiential environmental and cultural education opportunities for youth, and the development of park management skills.

More information about the World Parks Congress can be found at www.worldparkscongress.org.

 

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