TORONTO | Traditional territory of many nations – including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples – and now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples — Shared land governance with Indigenous Peoples is not only possible but is essential to the survival of all beings, according to a powerful new report from the David Suzuki Foundation and Decolonizing Water.

“Shared Governance” examines historical and evolving models of shared governance initiatives that can serve as templates for a reimagined Canada. It also demonstrates why colonial approaches to land ownership and exploitation can no longer serve as the status quo.

“As settlers, our collective lack of responsibility to maintaining biodiversity has resulted in a world that can no longer sustain us,” said Rachel Plotkin, boreal project manager at the David Suzuki Foundation. “Supporting Indigenous approaches to our connection with nature and obligation to all parts of existence isn’t just about reconciliation. It’s about ensuring our common survival.”

From the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve to the Great Bear Rainforest to the Thaidene Nëné Protected Area, the report explores historical models of shared governance that can be improved upon, and more recent approaches that have evolved in the context of the related climate and biodiversity crises.

“Indigenous Nations know what it means to live in right relationships with nature, but even when they are at decision-making tables, their voices are often only heard in the context of western science and policy,” said Aimée Craft, report co-author, research chair in Indigenous governance in relationship with land and water (University of Ottawa) and co-lead of Decolonizing Water. “Nations don’t want seats at Crown tables. They want nation-to-nation tables that respect traditional knowledge as essential to realizing shared governance and maintaining a healthy planet for generations to come.”

The report demonstrates the broad spectrum of approaches and mechanisms that can lead to harmonious models of shared governance, which take into account both Crown and Indigenous laws. It is the first step in a road map toward more just land governance.

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For more information or media interviews, please contact:

Stefanie Carmichael:, 437-221-4692

The David Suzuki Foundation ( | @DavidSuzukiFdn) is a leading Canadian environmental non-profit organization, founded in 1990. We operate in English and French, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. We collaborate with all people in Canada, including First Nations leadership and communities, governments, businesses and individuals to find solutions to create a sustainable Canada through scientific research, traditional ecological knowledge, communications and public engagement, and innovative policy and legal solutions. Our mission is to protect nature’s diversity and the well-being of all life, now and for the future.

Decolonizing Water ( | @DecolonizingWater) is an Indigenous-led partnership committed to enhancing the protection of water and Indigenous water governance. We engage in community-led research on water, including its ecological, socio-economic, cultural and spiritual dimensions. For us, lands and water are not only sites of learning, but are also actively involved in the process of education.