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Panelists highlight lessons from unique Indigenous-University-Conservation partnerships. Collectively, we seek to understand how such partnerships can transform conservation practice away from colonial logics of separation towards Indigenous logics of strengthening relations.
State-led conservation has become nearly synonymous with the displacement and marginalization of Indigenous Peoples and can be understood as part of the very fabric of colonialism, used as a means through which colonial and modern states gain and maintain control over Indigenous territory. In Canada, as elsewhere in the world, Indigenous peoples have experienced conservation-induced injustices, including hunting quotas, hunting bans and the establishment of protected areas. This session seeks to bring diverse attempts at decolonial partnerships into conversation with the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership (CRP), a growing network of Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars, conservation organizations and agencies in Canada formed to help catalyze transformative change in the conservation sector. It seeks to move conservation practice away from colonial logics that separate humans from nature towards Indigenous logics of strengthening relationships between human and nature and cultivating an ethic of reciprocity and mutual care. The conversation will highlight the kinds of organizational change necessary to truly decolonize conservation. The Panel of Indigenous thought leaders, scholars and conservation partners will discuss the range of collaborative projects underway that illustrate ethical partnerships that respectfully draw on multiple knowledge systems and governance systems to instill principles of reciprocity and respect in efforts to transform mainstream conservation. Collectively, the panelists will identify successes, persistent challenges and barriers to decolonizing conservation in Canada.