Lands Protection is part of the Department of Culture and Lands Protection. It is responsible for managing Tłı̨chǫ Lands and its resources. 39,000 Km2 of Tłı̨chǫ Lands where the Tłı̨chǫ people own surface and sub-surface right. To manage this, the Department works closely with other governments, numerous environmental and government agencies, and resource development companies.
The title of the Department includes the words “Lands Protection.” These words were chosen to reflect the priorities of the Tłı̨chǫ Government in managing Tłı̨chǫ Lands. The Tłı̨chǫ Government’s priority is to ensure that Tłı̨chǫ will never be restricted from their traditional way of life. The Department’s name helps others understand the important values held by the Tłı̨chǫ Government in fostering and encouraging traditional activities, being stewards of the land, and protecting the lands and resources for present and future generations.
Lands Protection of the Department of Culture and Lands Protection is the ‘window’ through which the Tłı̨chǫ Government directs all inquiries concerning Tłı̨chǫ Lands, and where issues related to proposed activities and development are reviewed. Lands Protection will provide recommendations on proposed activity and development to the Tłı̨chǫ Government for decisions. Lands Protection is responsible for planning and administrative duties associated with land management. The responsibilities that have been assigned to the Lands Department by the Tłı̨chǫ Government include:
- Developing, implementing and maintaining the Tłı̨chǫ Land Use Plan;
- Providing land administration services;
- Monitoring activities on Tłı̨chǫ Lands;
- Providing recommendations regarding the use of Tłı̨chǫ Lands;
- Communicating information on land use activities;
- Maintaining a GIS library of digital mapping; and
- Communicating, as required, with other agencies on matters arising from proposed activities or development
Tłı̨chǫ Land Use Plan
The Tłı̨chǫ Government has prepared the Tłı̨chǫ Land Use Plan, Tłı̨chǫ Wenek’e to assist in managing approximately 39,000km2 of Tłı̨chǫ Lands. The Tłı̨chǫ Wenek’e contains maps, policies, and text with the goal of protecting Tłı̨chǫ lands. Culture, heritage and way of life. The plan provides a guide for future development by outlining how Tłı̨chǫ lands will be protected and how activities and development on Tłı̨chǫ Lands should occur. Tłı̨chǫ Wenek’e is meant to not only protect the land for its inherent worth and ecological integrity, but it is also equally important to protect the land in order to experience and learn Tłı̨chǫ History, the stories and legends that are all connected to the land. The TLUP serves to protect the transfer of knowledge to future generations, which requires the retention of the ability to experience the land, to learn place names, the stories and knowledge associated with it. A crucial difference between the Tłı̨chǫ Land Use Plan and other regional land use plans in the NWT is that the lands that are subject of the Tłı̨chǫ Land Use Plan have one owner The Tłı̨chǫ. The Tłı̨chǫ Government will use the Tłı̨chǫ Land Use Plan to:
- Set out Land Protection Directives (policies) for the protection, management and use of Tłı̨chǫ Lands;
- Identify a process for the review of proposed developments or activities on Tłı̨chǫ Lands;
- Provide a basis for decision-making by the Tłı̨chǫ Government regarding the approval or denial of development proposals on Tłı̨chǫ Lands;
- Outline the role of outside agencies in contributing to Tłı̨chǫ decision-making on Tłı̨chǫ Lands; and
- Adapt to changing needs through regular reviews and public reporting of the Plan.
Land Administration Services
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Lands protection of the Department of Culture and Lands Protection has a number of ongoing monitoring activities:
The Tłı̨chǫ Aquatic Ecosystem Monitoring Project started in August 2010, as a collaboration between the Tłı̨chǫ Government, the Wek’ èezhı̀i Land and Water Board, and the Wek’ èezhı̀i Renewable Resource Board. Tłı̨chǫ community participants and scientists are collecting baseline information on fish, fish habitat, and water quality to compare any changes that may occur in the future, and develop a way to monitor fish that builds on both traditional Tłı̨chǫ Knowledge and science. There have been a series of camps each year in different areas of the region: 2010 – Marian Lake Fish Camp; 2011 – Russell Lake Fish Camp; 2012 – Snare Lake Fish Camp
2013 – Gamètì Fish Camp; 2014 – Whatì Fish Camp
The Marian Watershed Monitoring Program is a community-based Aquatic Effects Monitoring Program (AEMP) with specific consideration of the future impacts of the licensed NICO Project and other possible, future developments in the region. The program will monitor fish, water, and sediment prior to operation of the proposed NICO mine and will continue data collection in the future in order to monitor cumulative effects of development, land disturbance, and climate change in the Marian Watershed. Both western and Aboriginal science will be drawn on to obtain a clear picture of baseline conditions and potential changes over time. Results will contribute to characterization of background conditions and the range of natural variability in water chemistry in the Marian River, which is crucial to implementation of the legal requirement for water on Tłı̨chǫ lands to remain substantially unaltered (per Tłı̨chǫ Agreement and EA0809-004 EA Measures).
The program attempts to answer two key community-based questions: Is the fish safe to eat and the water safe to drink? The main objective of this program is to answer these questions in a meaningful way and facilitate communication of the answers from community members to community members.
Caribou Monitoring Winter Training Camps have occurred during the 2011 and 2013 winter. Tłı̨chǫ Citizens and TG Staff were trained in the field to collect caribou samples, which was led by the GNWT Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources and our lands Protection staff. While attending the field training; community members had hands on training and experienced staff were on hand to answer any questions or comments as to why selected caribou parts are sampled. This was an opportunity for Tłı̨chǫ Citizens to further their knowledge of the studies being done on the Caribou herds. Download: Caribou Monitoring Winter Training Camps
The Environmental Monitoring Training Program is a 3 day training program that rotates within the 4 Tłı̨chǫ Communities. Selected community members are taught to read topographic maps, data collection, GPS, wildlife observations, and field practices. When participants complete the program, they are given an opportunity to participate in the Marian Watershed Programs. In 2013, the training was held in Behchokǫ̀/Whatì and there were 8 Graduates. In 2014 , the training was held in Gamètì /Wekweètì and there were 6 Graduates
There is a GIS Traditional Knowledge Database that was initiated in 1993 and has been developed through transcribing traditional history related to Tłı̨chǫ place names and a Data Collection Project, on the land, led by elders and recording the information into a series of digital maps.