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Climate Action & Indigenous-led Land Stewardship

Wahkohtowin Development is working at advancing the policy dialog with regards to land management practices and indigenous participation. Our Mitacs Intern Lara Powell unpacked what is happening on this front.

Biochar burner pictured at Hawk Feather Farms. Flames billow from the top of a circular above ground steel pit used for making BioChar.
(Photo/Graphic recording by Shannon Loomer (ThinkLink Graphics) illustrating themes from a youth-led discussion on natural climate solutions, values and guardianship. )

..... advocating for natural climate solutions that respect and prioritize Indigenous rights, leadership and knowledge systems.....

Mother Earth may be our strongest ally in the fight against climate change. Among the many other gifts that forests offer, they balance the Earth’s atmosphere by absorbing greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide. As the world awakens to this important role that nature plays, the term "natural climate solutions" has become popular. It refers to actions to protect, restore and sustainably manage ecosystems like forests to help fight climate change. Canada –especially Treaty 9 territory— encompasses lands that play a particularly important role, like the boreal forest and peatland ecosystems that store massive amounts of carbon; studies show that what we do here will alter the pace of global climate change.

As interest and investment grows in this area, Wahkohtowin is advocating for natural climate solutions that respect and prioritize Indigenous rights, leadership and knowledge systems. The term “natural climate solutions” may be new, but in practice Indigenous Peoples have been sustainably managing carbon-storing ecosystems for millennia. Indigenous Peoples have always known and respected that ecosystems hold inherent value when conserved, as opposed to exploited and extracted from. There is no doubt that Indigenous leadership will be central to healing our collective relationship with nature and creating a climate-safe future for the seven generations yet to come.

By centering Indigenous knowledge and leadership, we can achieve both ecological conservation and cultural revitalization, with benefits for communities and our non-human relatives. As governments and corporations look to invest in natural climate solutions, Indigenous-led solutions should be top priority. Wahkohtowin is advocating in this area and working with its owner First Nations to channel investment into local stewardship initiatives, in line with community values -- including and beyond carbon management.

For a deeper dive into the political economy context of natural climate solutions, and Wahkohtowin’s advocacy efforts, check out this policy brief:

Climate Action Policy Brief - WDGPI
Download PDF • 1.51MB

Recognizing that youth voices are critical in conversations on climate action, Wahkohtowin’s Guardian Program engages youth as climate action champions. Learn more here:

Finally, you can learn more about Wahkohtowin’s Indigenous-led carbon management initiatives here:

Author: Lara Powell, Wahkohtowin Mitacs Intern


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