First Nations Development Institute
In a related companion piece to its recently released Increasing Ecological Stewardship of Tribal Lands, Natural Resources and Historical Sites publication (see April 18 announcement at http://bit.ly/EcoReport), First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) published Leveraging Native Lands, Sovereignty and Traditions: Models and Resources for Tribal Ecological Stewardship. In this additional report, First Nations showcases tribal models of culturally appropriate and values-centered development in which tribes are leveraging their lands and sovereignty to their economic, environmental and cultural benefit.
The report, written by First Nations consultant Marian Quinlan, culminates First Nations' two-year "Mapping Ecological Stewardship Opportunities in Northern Great Plains Native Communities" (MESO) project that was underwritten by Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. The focus of the project was to facilitate the dialogue around and implementation of strategies that catalyze tribally controlled initiatives in ecological stewardship that are compatible with community tribal values and contribute to tribal economic and community development opportunities. The long-term vision is for tribes to capitalize on and regain control of their natural resource assets in a sustainable manner and to thrive in their communities.
The concluding report shares examples of programs in which:
- Sustainable management of agricultural resources and wildlife habitat incorporate traditional practices, often alongside and in a complementary manner to Western management methods.
- The dramatic beauty of Northern Plains reservations will draw tourists – and tourism dollars – from around the world.
- Traditional knowledge is the basis for documenting and preparing Native communities in the face of climate change.
- Some of the 17.9 million acres of standing forests on tribal lands are already generating income – and mitigating greenhouse gases.
The report also includes resources for funding and technical assistance as well as food-for-thought ideas on perspectives and best practices to consider in planning and implementation tribal ecological stewardship initiatives. A group of experts shared their stories and models of natural resource management and how tribes can assert their control and infuse their efforts with traditional knowledge.
The publication is not intended as a comprehensive presentation of all available resources and models, but First Nations hopes that it will spark ideas, enhance networking, and provide a starting point. Gratifyingly, the trend in mainstream America toward environmentally-appropriate development affirms the Native American worldview, confirming the intrinsic Native wisdom of basing today’s decisions on the effects that will be felt well into the future.
(To download the report, click here. You will have to enter your email address and organization/company name.)
About First Nations Development Institute
For nearly 39 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information, visit www.firstnations.org.