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Indigenous and federal governments commit to advancing a new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area in Northwest Territories (NWT)

Members of DKFN and FRMG along with members of supporting organizations stand with the newly signed Memorandum of Understanding solidifying the collaborative relationship to developing a new Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) including from left to right: Don Balsillie, Lloyd Cardinal, Teagan Larocque, Dean McKay, Minnie Whimp, Brad King, FMRG Metis President Arthur Beck, Warren Delorme, Sonny Lenoir (DUC), Kris Brekke (CPAWS), Grand Chief Herb Norwegian (Dehcho FN), and James Varghese (DUC) © DUC

Deninu Kųę́ First Nation with the Fort Resolution Métis Government and Environment and Climate Change Canada sign a Contribution Agreement, for the Consideration of an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) near Fort Resolution, NWT

Fort Resolution, NWT, Dec 8th, 2022 — Deninu Kųę́ First Nation (DKFN) and the Fort Resolution Métis Government (FRMG) are excited to announce the signing of a Contribution Agreement (CA) with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) for developing an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA) proposal for an area of the Slave River Delta and portions of the Taltson watershed.

The agreement of $3.1 Million builds on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed this past April that confirmed the mutual aspirations of DKFN and FRMG to conserve portions of their traditional territory for the use and benefit of current and future generations.

For DKFN and FRMG, the signing of the CA is a timely response to the recent international discussions held at COP27 and now at COP15 regarding global efforts to reverse climate change and loss of nature and biodiversity. Don Balsillie, Akaitcho Treaty 8 Chief Negotiator explains: “Indigenous governments including in the community of Fort Resolution have a primary role in identifying the boundaries, management plans and authority structures of protected areas that ensure self-determination, on-going harvest and cultural activity. An IPCA at the Slave River Delta and Taltson watershed will contribute to stabilizing climate change and biodiversity loss for the benefit of our people and for the benefit of all Canadians and beyond.”

The project will consider a wealth of traditional knowledge, science and land use options to guide decisions. A range of partnerships including with governments, environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs), philanthropic bodies and others will contribute to success.


Chief Louis Balsillie of Deninu Kųę́ First Nation – “Our Indigenous Knowledge together with citizen science is a source of valuable environmental information to Deninu Kųę́ First Nation and plays a crucial role in shaping our own responses to climate change, conservation, negotiations, and opportunities for economic development. Fresh water is needed for life. It is vital to our cultural, social and ecological well-being of the Dene people living in the NWT. We need to protect these ecosystems.”

Arthur Beck, President of Fort Resolution Métis Government – “Water is like the blood in our veins, and the land is our body. If you pollute or cut off water, the land will die. Water is the fundamental element of who we are, and we must all work together to protect and conserve it. Many strong partnerships already exist in the NWT. We need to combine our resources. By partnering with Ducks Unlimited Canada and Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society NWT we can combine resources for a more effective conservation area.”

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change – “The partnership between Deninu Kųę́ First Nation and the Fort Resolution Métis Government to conserve and protect their traditional territory is the very essence of Indigenous-led area-based conservation. I am excited to see this team working toward establishing their Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area, and the important contributions it will have for conserving biodiversity for future generations and contributing to Canada’s conservation targets.”

Partner Organizations

Kevin Smith, Ducks Unlimited Canada’s national manager of boreal programs – “The shared relationship we have cultivated with DKFN and FRMG is helping advance our collective goals for conservation. Braiding local Indigenous knowledge with science is creating an ideal foundation for long-term IPCA success, and we are pleased to support this agreement to further the establishment of an IPCA in the Slave/Taltson Delta.”

Kris Brekke Executive Director CPAWS-NWT – “Travelling from Ft. Resolution with DKFN and FRMG community members has shown CPAWS-NWT how the Slave River Delta and Taltson River Watershed are equally important for providing the fish, plants, wildlife and water that have sustained people here for generations. Now today with increasing land and water use occurring upriver in the two watersheds, these natural resources are under pressure to the detriment of the community and all others who benefit from the area’s resources. We call on NWT residents and Canadians to join us in supporting DKFN and FRMG as they lead this conservation effort.”

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:

Minnie Whimp
Deninu Kue First Nation
P.O. Box 1899
Fort Resolution, NWT XOE OMO

Amanda Mandeville
Ft. Resolution Metis Gov
P.O. Box 1921
Fort Resolution, NWT XOE OMO

Chantelle Abma
Ducks Unlimited Canada
National Boreal Program
Suite 300, 10525 170 St
Edmonton AB T5P 4W2

Josh Campbell
5021 49 St 2nd floor
Yellowknife NWT X1A 1P5