Bertha Sutherland, Constance Lake First Nation & Carolyn Whittaker, The Firelight Group
For indigenous communities species at risk provide unique opportunities to leverage environmental management and decision-making power where there are species important to the practice of rights or where a community has developed a plan to maintain biodiversity. Well-designed traditional knowledge studies can use an evidence-based approach to provide a historical baseline providing a picture of current status of species trends over time. When combined with other forms of knowledge including western science and expertise of local knowledge holders these studies make the science more robust. Through knowledge and species at risk, communities who equip themselves well can have greater power over what development happens on their lands and what accommodations are provided for impacts to rights and interests. Constance Lake First Nation provides an example of how caribou is being used as part of a land-use planning process to determine which areas are historically important for hunting, trapping and the practice of rights.