Balancing the Canoe

Acknowledging our history and changing course for our future

As we look back on our 50 years, we recognize and take responsibility for the fact that Sierra Club BC’s history of advocacy for the creation of parks and protected areas largely disregarded Indigenous governance and jurisdiction over their territories. In many cases, parks were created without the consent of Indigenous nations affected and Indigenous peoples were forcibly removed from their land. This violated the human rights of Indigenous peoples. It also harmed the land, by cutting ecosystems off from the beneficial Indigenous management practices that had shaped them over millennia.

Sierra Club BC is engaging in a process to better understand the historical and ongoing impact of these practices by listening to Indigenous peoples. As we move forward, we are striving to do things differently and increase our capacity to recognize and respect Indigenous law and jurisdiction. We are grateful to our Indigenous teachers, colleagues, allies and friends for their guidance and input as we do this work.

As one part of this process, we have produced Balancing the Canoe, a reflection and statement of accountability from Sierra Club BC. We invite our members and supporters to read it and join us on this journey of learning.

All artwork by kQwa’st’not~Charlene George—cultural guide and member of the t’Sou-ke peoples.

Produced in September 2019 by Sierra Club BC.