Protection for Kaska Culture, Land, and Well-Being

Long before provincial land borders were drawn, Kaska Dena peoples lived in 240,000 square kilometres of BC’s far north, southeast Yukon and southern Northwest Territories.

These ancestral lands extend across a pristine wilderness larger than Vancouver Island. Imagine 3.9 hectares of untouched wilderness. A place with no roads, no power lines, no machine rumblings. A place rich with abundant and diverse wildlife like caribou, moose, and mountain goats. A place where you can walk along ancient Indigenous trails for weeks without meeting another soul.

In our language we say Dene Kʼéh Kusān, which means Always Will Be There. To ensure our people and ancestral lands will thrive today and in the future, we’ve built a plan for protecting this vital piece of northern BC.

We’re asking the government to work jointly with us to ensure that Kaska Dena ancestral territory:

  • Does not suffer the devastating effects of climate change and biodiversity loss we’re seeing across British Columbia, Canada and around the world.
  • Remains intact, which is critical to preserving Kaska peoples’ material, cultural and spiritual lives.
  • Continues to shelter caribou, a species struggling to feed itself and breed in other parts of the province.
  • Sustains and creates economic opportunities for Kaska and others in northern communities.
  • Becomes a world-class protected area for all British Columbians to explore and enjoy.

How We'll Do It

This conservation plan builds on existing special management zones inside the Muskwa‑Kechika Management Area. Protected area boundaries have been carefully drawn to sustain and create jobs and to conserve biodiversity. Forestry tenures are strategically located just outside conservation boundaries and will produce forestry jobs for Kaska communities and others where none exist today. Conservation areas avoid or minimize overlap with existing mining and oil and gas extraction sites.

This protected area also opens up exciting economic opportunities for Kaska to welcome and guide outdoor enthusiasts who come to fish, hunt, hike, and camp in our ancestral territory.

What's Next?

In the face of worsening forest fires and severe loss of biodiversity, and in the spirit and practice of reconciliation, we’ve asked the federal and B.C. governments to support our Indigenous-led conservation plan.

Dene Kʼéh Kusān

Always Will Be There

Kaska Dena Conservation Analysis April 2019 (PDF)

Information

For more information about Dene Kʼéh Kusān – Always Will Be There, please contact Dena Kayeh Institute.

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