MEDIA RELEASE: Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation Co-recipient of Premier’s Award for Work on Protected Areas Legislation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2020 – Łutsël K’é, NT
The Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation is honoured to be named a co-recipient of the 2020 Premier’s Award for Indigenous Partnership, alongside other members of the Protected Areas Act Technical Working Group.
The Premier’s Award for Indigenous Partnerships recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of GNWT employees and teams who work in partnership with Indigenous governments and organizations to strengthen programs and policies, improve access to services for NWT residents, enhance intergovernmental cooperation, and strengthen bilateral relationships.
Formed in 2018, the Technical Working Group, of which the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation was an active and valued member, played a critical role in the development of the protected areas legislation which came into came into force on July 20, 2019. The Protected Areas Act provides the legislative framework for protecting, conserving, and maintaining biodiversity, ecological integrity, and cultural continuity of the NWT through the creation of a network of permanent protected areas that are representative of the ecosystems and cultural landscapes found in the territory.
The protected areas legislation has been of particular interest to the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation as it has sought the establishment of the Thaidene Nëné Indigenous Protected Area. Thaidene Nëné means the Land of the Ancestors in Dënesųłıné. In August 2019, approximately 9,100 square kilometres of the area designated by Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation as the Thaidene Nëné Indigenous Protected Area became the first territorial protected area under the new Protected Areas Act.
The Thaidene Nëné Indigenous Protected Area also includes a National Park Reserve (14,070 km2) and a soon to be established Wildlife Conservation Area (3,120 km2). In total, Thaidene Nëné protects 26,376 square kilometres of boreal forest and tundra, the heart of the Łutsël K’é Dene’s traditional territory.
Chief Darryl Marlowe says, “The Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation has long been an advocate for conservation measures that respect inherent and treaty rights and allow for the continuation of the Dënesųłıné way of life long into the future. We are happy to see that, as a result of our involvement with the Technical Working Group, the new legislation allows for us to protect our land from development and maintain our land-based ways of life.”
The protected areas legislation that was developed with the guidance of the Technical Working Group including the Łutsël K’é Dene First Nation protects designated areas from industrial and commercial development, while still allowing for sustainable tourism, traditional economies, and conservation economy opportunities. Under the Protected Areas Act, territorial protected areas are co-governed and co-managed by Indigenous governments and the GNWT as outlined in collaboratively developed governance and management plans.
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We are the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation. Our vision for Thaidene Nëné is:
Nuwe néné, nuwe ch'anıé yunedhé xa (Our land, our culture for the future).
We’re working with our partners to permanently protect Thaidene Nëné—part of our
huge and bountiful homeland around and beyond the East Arm of Tu Nedhé.