Walking on two legs: a pathway of Indigenous restoration and reconciliation in fire-adapted landscapes

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Sarah Dickson-Hoyle, Lori Daniels, Shannon Hagerman, Marianne Ignace, Ronald E. Ignace

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Worldwide, Indigenous peoples are leading the revitalization of their cultural systems and practices as well as the restoration of ecosystems in which they are based. At the same time, a major driver of ecological restoration, particularly throughout western North America, is the recent and rapid increase in the socio-economic and ecological impacts associated with ‘megafires’. As such, ecological restoration is increasingly promoted alongside conservation as key for achieving multiple biodiversity and human wellbeing objectives and is now seen as a global policy priority. However, while there is increasing recognition of the important roles of Indigenous peoples in achieving global conservation targets, we argue that the critical and active roles of Indigenous peoples in advancing the theory and practice of ecological restoration have received insufficient attention. Drawing on our diverse experiences conducting research with and for (our) Indigenous communities in British Columbia (BC), Canada, we will present the framework of ‘walking on two legs’ to guide restoration scientists and practitioners in upholding respectful and reciprocal relationships with Indigenous peoples, and to advance a paradigm shift towards Indigenous-centred and Indigenous-led restoration. Situating our discussions in interior BC and the traditional territory of the Secwepemc Nation, Secwepemcul’ecw, we consider how this framework could be applied to scale up restoration initiatives and ‘restory’ these fire-adapted and fire-affected landscapes. Finally, we will explore how these shifts towards Indigenous restoration paradigms offer an opportunity to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, revitalize Indigenous knowledge systems and decolonize restoration.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program