You can start your journey by asking yourself, “where am I?” You are on Indigenous territory in a place that has an Indigenous name. Start by learning about the place that you are in and the forests that you are worried about. Here are a few suggestions on how to start this path of discovery:
Find an advisor who can help you explore this topic. Think of someone you know that has an understanding of the local communities or someone who works in the environmental field. For example, a friend that works as a biologist, or a nurse that works with the local Indigenous communities.
Consider whether you want to approach the local Indigenous communities with your project. Understand that there will be many varied perspectives within an Indigenous community. Start by talking with someone you know from the Indigenous community to get guidance on how to approach the topic. If you don’t know anyone from the local community, try to find someone who has relationships with the community who can provide an introduction for you.
If you are invited, make a presentation to the community. Wait to be invited before taking further steps.
Throughout the process, work on developing relationships rather than taking a transactional approach. Continually assess the implications of your project on Indigenous jurisdiction and acknowledge that the community may not have time to respond to you.
Tsilhqot’in Nation occupies the territory from Teztan Biny south to the junction of the Chilcotin and Fraser Rivers. The Tsilhqot’in vision for the area is Dasiqox Tribal Park, a protected area open for all British Columbians to visit and enjoy. In their words, the Dasiqox Tribal Park is an expression of Tŝilhqot’in self-determination and a means of governing a land base that reflects the values of their people. Learn more about Dasiqox Tribal Park and Tsilhqot’in’s work protecting Teztan Biny from extraction by Taseko Mines here.