Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site Management Plan 2016
Saoyú-ʔehdacho National Historic Site
- Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site Management Plan 2016 (PDF, 6.70 Mb)
© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada, 2016.
National Library of Canada cataloguing in publication data:
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan
Available also on the Internet.
Cat. no. 978-0-660-03648-9
Cette publication est aussi disponible en français.
For more information about the management plan or about Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site of Canada:
Cooperative Management Board and Parks Canada
Deline, NT X0E 0G0
Canada’s national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas belong to all Canadians and offer truly Canadian experiences.
These special places make up one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural heritage areas in the world.
The Government is committed to preserving our national parks, expanding the system of protected places and contributing to the recovery of species-at-risk. At the same time, we must continue to develop new and innovative programs and services to allow more Canadians to experience and learn about our environment and history.
This new management plan for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site of Canada supports this vision.
Management plans are developed through extensive consultation and input from various people and organizations, including Indigenous Peoples, local and regional residents, visitors and the dedicated team at Parks Canada.
National parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas are a priority for the Government of Canada. I would like to thank everyone who contributed to this plan for their commitment and spirit of co-operation.
As the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, I applaud this collaborative effort and I am pleased to approve the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan.
Original signed by
Support from the Déline Land Corporation and the Déline Renewable Resources Council for the final draft of the SENHS Management Plan
Dear Parks Canada and Members of the Board,
Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are part of who we are — part of how we see and understand ourselves. Our ancestors have used Saoyú and Ɂehdacho since time immemorial. Their footsteps are everywhere on the land, and we can see the traces of their lives — their dwellings, their trails, their graves, and their stories — all around Sahtu (or “Great Bear Lake” in English).
All of the land is important to us. But in all of the Sahtu Settlement Area, Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are two of our most sacred places. Much of our history, our philosophy, our traditional law and the stories by which our Elders pass on our Heritage is associated with Saoyú and Ɂehdacho. Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are teaching, learning and healing places.
We support this first Management Plan for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site. We agree with the Plan’s emphases on well-being, the health and protection of the land, understanding, awareness, and capacity development. And we support the consensus-based, cooperative management of this place now and in the future. This Management Plan is another step in the long-term relationship between the Sahtugot’ine and the land, and between Sahtugot’ine and other Canadians as represented by Parks Canada.
Original signed by
Recommended and original signed by
Chief Executive Officer
Field Unit Superintendent
Western Arctic Field Unit
Dolphus Tutcho, Co-Chair
Tom Nesbitt, Co-Chair
Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are two peninsulas that reach from the south and west into Great Bear Lake – or “Sahtú” in the dialect of the Aboriginal inhabitants of the lake – in Canada’s Northwest Territories. In recognition of their relationship with the lake, these people call themselves Sahtúgot’įnę – the “people belonging to Sahtú”.
Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are sacred places for the Sahtúgot’įnę. They are places where they go to be taught by their Elders, to learn and to heal. The proclamation of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site (“Saoyú-Ɂehdacho”) in 1998 recognizes this and this place’s role in the cultural heritage of all Canadians.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is nationally significant for two main reasons. It is significant, first, because of the relationship between the Sahtúgot’įnę and the land, and what this relationship tells all Canadians about our collective heritage. It is significant, second, because of the unique cooperative relationship that the Sahtúgot’įnę and Parks Canada have forged between themselves in managing this place now and in the future.
This is the first Management Plan for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho. It is based on several agreements, of varying degrees of formality, and the evolving long-term relationship between the Sahtúgot’įnę and Parks Canada. At its heart, the Management Plan is based on a common vision for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho, and on the agreement of the Délı̨nę Land Corporation, the Délı̨nę Renewable Resources Council and Parks Canada (the “Parties”) to manage Saoyú-Ɂehdacho as one whole, in accordance with existing legislative and land claim authorities, the site establishment agreement and the Aboriginal tradition of consensus decision making.
The Management Plan describes the agreements through which the relationship between the Sahtúgot’įnę and Parks Canada evolved and it articulates the Parties’ common vision for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho.
The Plan sets out five complementary and inter-woven management strategies that will guide the Parties for the next ten years:
- Support Délı̨nę’s Elders, and others, in their efforts to pass Sahtúgot’įnę Heritage on to younger people.
- Protect the land and its natural and cultural resources.
- Research, monitor and document traditional and scientific knowledge of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho.
- Share the significance of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho locally and nationally; and
- Develop the capacity of Sahtúgot’įnę individuals, organizations and businesses.
Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and historic places in the world. These places include the national historic sites, national parks, national marine conservation areas and heritage canals that Parks Canada administers. The Agency’s mandate is to protect and present these places for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. It manages each of these places in a future-oriented, strategic way, so as to support the following vision:
Canada’s treasured natural and historic places will be a living legacy, connecting hearts and minds to a stronger, deeper understanding of the very essence of Canada.
The Parks Canada Agency Act requires Parks Canada to prepare a management plan for national historic sites administered by the Agency. Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site of Canada is one such place. When the Minister responsible for Parks Canada has approved and tabled it in Parliament, the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan (the “Management Plan”) will ensure Parks Canada’s accountability to Canadians. This Management Plan outlines how the management of this important part of our national heritage will achieve measurable results in support of the Agency’s mandate and Canada’s Aboriginal heritage.
The Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan is different than most put before Parliament. It was developed through a partnership between Parks Canada, the Délı̨nę Land Corporation and the Délı̨nę Renewable Resources Council, working together through the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Management Board (the “Management Board”). The Management Plan is a positive contribution to better understanding and cooperation between people of very different backgrounds and cultures. The Plan sets clear, strategic direction for the management and operation of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site (“Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS” or “Saoyú-Ɂehdacho”) by articulating a vision, key strategies, objectives and targets. Parks Canada, the Délı̨nę Land Corporation, the Délı̨nę Renewable Resources Council and the Management Board will together report annually on progress toward achieving Plan objectives and it will review the Plan every ten years or sooner as required.
This Management Plan is not an end in and of itself. The Management Board will maintain an open dialogue on the implementation of the Management Plan, to ensure that it remains relevant and meaningful. The Plan will serve as the focus for ongoing engagement in the management of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS for years to come.
Map 1: Regional Setting
Map 2: Site Overview
Saoyú and Ɂehdacho comprise two peninsulas which reach into Great Bear Lake from the west and south respectively. They are large peninsulas, of approximately 2500 and 3400 square kilometers respectively (together the size of Prince Edward Island), and together they constitute one of Canada's largest national historic sites. But Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are far from being merely two large peninsulas. For the people of Délı̨nę who proposed the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS, Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are alive, inseparable from who they are, and places of learning full of the philosophy, history and stories by which they define themselves.
Saoyú and ?ehdacho rise gradually from the surface of Great Bear Lake (156 metres above sea level) to broad and reasonably flat summits of approximately 650 and 725 metres above sea level respectively. Both peninsulas are covered with open boreal forest. Around the perimeters of both peninsulas, a series of raised beaches has been formed by the rebound of the land following the melting of the glaciers. These raised beaches contain the majority of the known human occupation of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho. Other places of occupation and significance may be revealed by Délı̨nę’s Elders in the future, as part of the research contemplated in this Management Plan.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho sits within the larger setting of Great Bear Lake, a vast inland sea that is at once Canada's largest wholly-contained fresh-water lake and the ninth-largest lake in the world. This lake has and continues to exert a profound influence over the history, cultural development (land use patterns, travel routes ...) and ecology of the region.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is within the Sub-Arctic zone of Canada, in close proximity to the Arctic Circle (66 32' N), and just south of the tree line. It is within Ecoregion 52, the Great Bear Lake Plain, and Parks Canada's Northern Boreal Plains Ecoregion.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS is part of a larger family of national historic sites and other protected areas that commemorate the history and culture of the Sahtúgot’įnę, and their relationship to the land and non-Dene peoples. The Délı̨nę Fishery/Franklin’s Fort National Historic Site is located adjacent to the community of Délı̨nę, to the West and South of Saoyú and Ɂehdacho respectively. Edaiila, another vast peninsula reaching into Great Bear Lake from the east, and several other places of key significance to Sahtúgot’įnę culture, are now also protected as conservation zones under the Sahtú Land Use Plan.
Finally, Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS sits within the Sahtú Settlement Area, the land claim settlement area created by the Sahtú Dene and Metis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (“SDMCLCA”). Within this area, the beneficiaries of the SDMCLCA hold (among other things) constitutionally-recognized rights regarding the land, its cooperative management, and the harvesting of its resources. The SDMCLCA also establishes “Sahtú” (or Aboriginally-owned) as well as Crown lands throughout the Sahtú Settlement Area and within Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS itself. The Crown lands within Saoyú-Ɂehdacho are administered by Parks Canada. All of these lands are shown on Maps 1 and 2 along with the boundaries of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho. The Sahtú and Crown lands within Saoyú-Ɂehdacho, and the SDMCLCA, are more fully described in Part 3 below.
2.0 Significance of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site
The significance of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS is revealed in two fundamental relationships: the age-old relationship of Sahtúgot’įnę and the land, and the new and unique relationship that the Délı̨nę Land Corporation, the Délı̨nę Renewable Resources Council and Parks Canada (the “Parties”) have forged among themselves in the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site of Canada Protected Area and Cooperative Management Agreement (2008) (the “Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement”).
The people who live in Délı̨nę, in the vicinity of Great Bear Lake (or “Sahtú” in their language) call themselves “Sahtúgot’įnę”: “the people who belong to Sahtú”. This name reflects the Sahtúgot’įnę perception of themselves as defined by their relationship to the lake and its landscape. For the Elders of the Sahtúgot’įnę, the land is indivisible, of immeasurable value and alive. The rivers flowing into Sahtú are like the veins of the body of a vast organism. According to the Elders, all people are part of this organism, and we share a collective responsibility to protect it. Notwithstanding this holistic view, however, the Elders have a special and very old word for a small number of particularly important places, including Saoyú-Ɂehdacho. They say these places are “sore benegodi”: “so real, of such fundamental value, so beautiful or splendid that they are embedded in the mind; they cannot be dismissed; they are part of the Sahtúgot’įnę” Footnote 1. The preservation of the Sahtúgot’įnę language is fundamental to Saoyú-Ɂehdacho and to Sahtúgot’įnę well-being.
This relationship of Sahtúgot’įnę and the land is the basis for the Minister’s recognition, in 1998, with Délı̨nę authorities and on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho as a national historic site. Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are nationally significant to Canada because of the relationship of Sahtúgot’įnę and the land, and what that relationship tells all Canadians about our collective Aboriginal heritage, and its contribution to the fabric of Canada.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS is also significant because of the new management relationship that the Délı̨nę Land Corporation, the Délı̨nę Renewable Resources Council and Parks Canada have created among themselves in the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Agreement. The Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement recognizes the rights of Sahtúgot’įnę to harvest throughout Saoyú-Ɂehdacho; it incorporates and provides for the protection of both Crown and the Sahtú lands within it; and it commits the Parties to “cooperatively manage Saoyú-Ɂehdacho as whole, to preserve and protect its commemorative and ecological integrity, including the Heritage of the Sahtúgot’įnę”. The Agreement also commits the Parties to manage Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS using the Aboriginal tradition of consensus decision making.
The Supreme Court of Canada has, through several cases over the past 20 years, defined the fundamental objective of the recognition of Aboriginal and treaty rights in the 1982 amendment of Canada’s Constitution, as well as in modern-day land claim agreements. The objective of the recognition of such rights is the reconciliation of the interests and world views of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadians. The Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement brings the age-old Aboriginal tradition of consensus decision-making into the system of land management established by the Canada National Parks Act and the Parks Canada Agency Act. In so doing, the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement, and the system of cooperative land management it envisages, contribute to the ongoing reconciliation of the interests and worldviews of Sahtúgot’įnę and other Canadians.
3.0 Planning Context
The relationship among the Délı̨nę Land Corporation, the Délı̨nę Renewable Resources Council and Parks Canada — culminating in the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement and in the management of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho by consensus — has evolved over several years of discussion and negotiation. These discussions and negotiations resulted in several agreements, of varying degrees of formality that have molded these Parties’ relationships over time. It is important to understand the Management Plan within this chronological context, as set out below:
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS is grounded in the SDMCLCA. That Agreement establishes beneficiaries’ harvesting rights, including the right to establish camps for the purpose of harvesting, throughout the Sahtú Settlement Area, including Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS. The SDMCLCA also recognizes the Aboriginal title, now held by the Délı̨nę Land Corporation, in the Sahtú lands that sit at the necks of both of the peninsulas of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS. These lands comprise 20% of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho, while the Crown holds title to 80% of the lands, as well as all subsurface lands. The SDMCLCA thus gives certainty to beneficiaries’ rights, including the boundaries of aboriginally held lands, and the respective jurisdictions of the Délı̨nę Land Corporation, the Délı̨nę Renewable Resources Council and Parks Canada in managing Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS.
Following the Site’s designation as a National Historic Site in 1998, the community of Délı̨nę and Parks Canada developed and approved the Commemorative Integrity Statement for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho (the “CIS”) in 2004 — Commemorative Integrity Statement: Sahyoue (Grizzly Bear Mountain) and Ehacho (Scented Grass Hills) National Historic Site of Canada. The CIS recognizes the reasons for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho’s national significance as summarized above (part 2). Among other things, the CIS also identifies the nationally significant values of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho, including that Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are two of the most sacred places in all of the Sahtú Settlement Area. It confirms that it is through these types of places, and the stories associated with them, that the Elders pass on the traditional knowledge of the Sahtúgot’įnę — their history, cosmology, spiritual values, law, ethics, land use and traditional life-styles. And it confirms the objective of communicating the reasons for the national significance of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho to the public. The CIS confirms the vision of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho as a learning and healing place, and this vision has proven to be an accurate guide for the Management Board, the Délı̨nę Land Corporation, the Délı̨nę Renewable Resources Council and Parks Canada in their cooperative management of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho to date.
From 2002 to 2005, Saoyú and Ɂehdacho were included in a management plan for Great Bear Lake and its watershed: “The Water Heart”: A Management Plan for Great Bear Lake and its Watershed (2005). During the development of the Water Heart, Délı̨nę’s Elders began to speak much more extensively about the traditional knowledge of the Sahtúgot’įnę. This traditional knowledge helps us better understand Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS and the relationship of Sahtúgot’įnę and the land. The Elders assert that there is a water heart in Sahtú; the entire landscape is alive; Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are two of four “sentinel” peninsulas watching over the lake; and, occasionally, that Saoyú and Ɂehdacho are “listening to us now”.
In 2005, the Elders of Délı̨nę and Parks Canada re-affirmed their common vision for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS. In One Trail, Facilitator’s Report on the Sahyoue and Edacho Directions-Confirming Workshop (November 8-10/05) (December 17, 2005) (the “OneTrailReport”), they agree that:
“It is only through fulfilling … [their] responsibilities passed on from the ancestors – protecting, caring for and paying respect to the land, and supporting the Elders in passing on Sahtúgot’įnę beliefs, law, values and practices to the youth – that the Sahtúgot’įnę can retain their identity and ‘be who we are’. Only thus can the community … be kept ‘vital and well’. Only thus can Sahtúgot’įnę culture be preserved.”
Candidate areas for legislative protection in the Northwest Territories must, in accordance with the Northwest Territories Protected Areas Strategy (the “PAS”), be objectively assessed so that the trade-offs in establishing such areas are known in advance of final protected area establishment decisions. In 2007, Saoyú-Ɂehdacho became the first candidate to work its way through and be approved for protection under the PAS process.
The Délı̨nę Land Corporation, the Délı̨nę Renewable Resources Council and Parks Canada concluded the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement in 2008. The Agreement provides for the protection and cooperative management of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho. Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is protected by the transfer of administrative control of the Crown lands portion of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho to the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, and by a permanent land withdrawal of the subsurface of the entire national historic site (both Crown and Sahtú lands) from any further disposition. The Agreement is also unique from the perspective of cooperative management in Canada. It benefits from the certainty provided by the SDMCLCA, and it recognizes the ultimate authority of each of the Parties in their respective areas of responsibility in Saoyú-Ɂehdacho. At the same time, it provides for the establishment of the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Management Board, and it commits the Parties to “make all reasonable efforts to make final decisions on the management of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho by consensus”, as one whole, and through the institution of the Management Board. The Parties must refer all management matters to the Management Board and they must disclose all non-confidential information at the Management Board table. They must send decision-making authority to the Management Board table. These authorities, including the Parks Canada Superintendent, and a “Délı̨nę Manager” representing the Délı̨nę Land Corporation and the Délı̨nę Renewable Resources Council, must, together with the Management Board, “make all reasonable efforts to come to a consensus on matters before the Board”. Finally, the Agreement recognizes the authority of the Management Board and Party representatives to refer larger, deferred or emergency decisions to higher levels of authority, for their input and/or final determination. The Agreement thus provides for efficient, consensus-based management decisions that are consistent with each of the Parties’ ultimate decision-making authorities. It is the key to the successful and cooperative management of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho to date.
In 2013, the Sahtú Secretariat Inc. and the Governments of the Northwest Territories and Canada approved the Sahtú Land Use Plan. The Land Use Plan is significant here for two reasons: First, the Land Use Plan establishes a system of regional land management, including a regional Land Use Planning Board and a regional Land and Water Board that is now in force throughout most of the Sahtú Settlement Area. Second, for greater certainty, the Land Use Plan and its system of regional land management does not apply to Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS. Saoyú-Ɂehdacho, including both Crown and Sahtú lands, is thus managed as one whole, pursuant to the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement.
As detailed above, the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement requires the Parties and the Management Board to make all reasonable efforts to make management decisions by consensus. Consensus is a method of decision making that is based on listening, mutual respect and reconciling different perspectives into one coherent whole. At various points in – and particularly at the end of – the discussion of any issue, the elements of the consensus are stated and verified by all participants. Consensus means the agreement of all. According to the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement, the consensus must be among the appointed members of the Management Board as well as the authorized representatives of the Parties. It is in this sense that the Management Board and the Parties make decisions on the management of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS “by consensus”.
This Management Plan is itself the product of a consensus. But to avoid having to refer repeatedly to the consensus decisions of “the Management Board and the Parties”, the Management Plan refers to such decisions as the decisions of the “BOARD”. “BOARD” means the Management Board in consensus with the authorized representatives of the Parties.
The Parties appointed the Management Board in 2009. Since that time, the BOARD has managed Saoyú-Ɂehdacho by consensus, to accommodate the different cultural values and perspectives that participants bring to the management of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho.
In its “site establishment phase” from 2009 to 2014, the BOARD developed, together with Délı̨nę’s Elders, a first set of management priorities for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS. These priorities speak to and accommodate all Parties’ values. Among other things, the BOARD has recommended funding for yearly cultural camps at Saoyú or Ɂehdacho, run by community organizations, where the culture of the Sahtúgot’įnę is affirmed and passed on to the younger generation. It has overseen the building of a traditional log cabin at Tłıoɂehdá on Saoyú, and Parks Canada’s hiring of a Saoyú-Ɂehdacho manager and a locally-hired management trainee. And it has supported numerous community-based projects that facilitate the passing of Sahtúgot’įnę culture from the Elders to the younger generation. These things are accomplished or in progress.
In 2014, the BOARD developed a State of Site Assessment. That assessment identifies four key issues or strategies of the Management Plan, which the BOARD has re-ordered slightly as set out below. These strategies animate the Management Plan.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is a national historic site because of the relationship between Sahtúgot’įnę and the land. It is the responsibility of the Elders to pass their Heritage onto youth. The BOARD supports the Elders in passing on this Heritage.
The land, and the relationship of Sahtúgot’įnę to it, are the foundation of Saoyú and Ɂehdacho. We need to ensure the health of the land — including cultural resources, landscape and environmental features – for future generations. As set out in part 3 above, most of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is already protected by a permanent withdrawal of the subsurface of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho and the transfer of the administration and control of the Crown lands to the Minister responsible for Parks Canada. As detailed below, however, some aspects of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho, such as forest fire response and the sustainability of the camp site at Tłıoɂehdá, now need further attention to ensure their long-term health.
We need to better understand Saoyú-Ɂehdacho. Traditional and scientific knowledge of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho needs to be further documented. Of particular concern is the loss of traditional knowledge as Elders age. The BOARD will oversee further scientific and traditional knowledge research, monitoring and documentation in Saoyú-Ehdacho.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is a national historic site because of the relationship of Sahtúgot’įnę and the land, and what Saoyú-Ɂehdacho tells other Canadians about this important part of our collective heritage. National historic sites carry an obligation to communicate and inform. The BOARD recognizes that it has challenges in addressing local awareness of its work and national understanding of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho. Improvements to outreach and communication are required. These improvements will yield benefits to the community of Délı̨nę and to the other Canadians who have the opportunity to learn about and visit this special place.
The BOARD’s vision for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS weaves together the very different cultural perspectives and ways of speaking that are represented in the BOARD and the cooperative maanagement of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS. To accomplish this, the visiion draws on the One Train Report, the CIS, and the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement. It is worth underlining here that what follows are complementary ways of seeing the world and speaking that are eqaully valid.
“Our language comes from the land and the animals.”
“A group of people comes upon a huge stone. They must somehow move the stone. It blocks their way utterly. They are unable to go around it, over it or under it. Nor are they able to move it working individually or in small groups. They will only be able to move the stone if they all work together, each according to his or her role in the larger task. Only the truth, discovered by all people working together, can move the stone and establish a ‘road for all humanity’”.
“The protection and co-management of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho are integral to the well-being of Déline. ‘We selected these places not for their beauty, but for what they give back.’ The culture that Sahyoue and Edacho embody is ‘our trail to travel on’.”
“Déline’s involvement in the protection and co-management of Sahyoue and Edacho is a responsibility given to the Sahtugot’ine by their ancestors… It is only through fulfilling these responsibilities passes on from the ancestors — protecting, caring for and paying respect to the land, and supporting the elders in passing on Sahtugot’ine beliefs, law, values and practices to the youth — that the Sahtugot’ine can retain their identity and ‘be who we are’. Only thus will the community be kept ‘vital and well’. Only thus can Sahtugot’ine culture be preserved.”
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho will be “places to encourage the passing of Sahtugot’ine culture from the Elders to the youth, to ‘help the youth understand who they are’, to ‘stabliize the culture’, to ‘sustain the community’ and to ‘help the community be a community again’”.
The BOARD works coooperatively together to manage Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS in order to:
- Preseve, present and protect the Heritage of the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho, including:
- The landscape and its ecological and commemorative integrity;
- Physical evidence of past human presence in Saoyú-Ɂehdacho; and
- Sahtugot’ine Traditional Knowledge;
- Contribute to the cultural well-being of the communicty of Déline and provide for and support the exercise of ecologically-sustainable culture practices on the part of the Sahtugot’ine, including:
- The exercise of participants harvesting rights; the Sahtugot’ine Elders passing on heritage on to the younger generations of Sahtugot’ine; and
- The establishment and operation of teaching and helaling camps at Saoyú-Ɂehdacho;
- Include Sahtugot’ine Traditional Knowledge in Saoyú-Ɂehdacho management decisions;
- Develop the capacity of the Sahtugot’ine and Sahtugot’ine organisations to play a central role, with Parks Canada, in the operation and management of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho
- Develop public and Visitor awareness, appreciation and understanding of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho and the land; and
- Develop mutual repect among all users of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho, and make all reasonable efforts to ensure the visitors respect Sahtugot’ine cultural practices in Saoyú-Ɂehdacho
5.0 Key Strategies
Strategies are broad management approaches. They will direct management activities over the next 10 years. Each key strategy has corresponding objectives and targets. The targets are designed to measure our collective success in achieving objectives over the 10-year implementation period. The strategies are interconnected; they sometimes overlap, and they should be understood as comprising as one whole.
The Elders illustrate the purpose of the Management Plan by way of a story. Prior to setting out on the land, trappers must carefully assemble all of the tools they will need, including several days’ food, a tent, a stove, an axe, a saw, pots, pans, traps and snares… This Management Plan can be understood similarly: as a tool or group of tools to help direct the BOARD’s efforts in managing Saoyú-Ɂehdacho over the next ten years.
Over the next 10 years, the BOARD will oversee the following strategies. The persons or organizations carrying out any target will vary with the context.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is a national historic site because of the relationship between Sahtúgot’įnę and the land. The Elders and other Délįne residents are responsible for passing their Heritage on to the youth. We need to work together to support and facilitate their efforts.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho are places of teaching, healing, and wellness for Sahtúgot’įnę. We want to support the Elders and others in passing on their Heritage, and to increase learning opportunities for younger people in Délįne.
- 1.1 Support traditional workshops and camps in Délįne and Saoyú-Ɂehdacho.
- 1.2 Complete infrastructure to support on-site cultural exchange.
- 1.1.1 Each year, community-led, traditional knowledge/skills learning experiences are held.
- 1.1.2 Délįne children have an opportunity to visit Saoyú-Ɂehdacho at least once during their school age years.
- 1.1.3 Each year, an on-the-land teaching and healing camp is held.
- 1.2.1 By 2019, infrastructure to support the traditional camp on Saoyú at Tłıɂehdá́ is in place.
- 1.2.2 By 2020, options for a traditional camp on Ɂehdacho are assessed.
The land, and the relationship of Sahtúgot’įnę to it, are the foundation of this national historic site. We need to ensure the health of the land — including cultural resources, landscape and environmental features — for future generations.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is a protected place. Activities must support its health, vital to the wellbeing of Sahtúgot’įnę.
- 2.1 Ensure activities on Saoyú-Ɂehdacho respect the land, its resources and their future use. Saoyú-Ɂehdacho.
- 2.2 Improve the health and the protection of the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho landscape
- 2.1.1 By 2019, a sustainability plan is in place and implemented for the traditional camp on Saoyú at Tłıɂehdá́.
- 2.1.2 By 2019, orientation and interpretation information is being offered at Tłıɂehdá́. This information emphasizes respectful and sustainable practices.
- 2.2.1 By 2018, fire management practices for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho are developed and implemented with territorial and community partners.
- 2.2.2 Opportunities to understand and better protect caribou and their habitat in Saoyú-Ɂehdacho are explored with partners.
We need more comprehensive traditional and scientific knowledge for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho. Of particular concern is the loss of traditional knowledge as Elders age.
Improving our collective understanding of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho will help us protect Saoyú-Ɂehdacho and share its significance with Sahtúgot’įnę and other Canadians. Both traditional and scientific perspectives need to be understood and respected.
- 3.1 Document, store and share traditional and scientific knowledge
- 3.2 Conduct traditional and scientific knowledge research and monitoring to better understand Sahtúgot’įnę Heritage
- 3.1.1 Existing traditional and scientific knowledge information is assessed and inventoried.á́.
- 3.1.2 Important cultural and natural values, including traditional place names, are mapped.s.
- 3.1.3 Heritage information is stored and shared as appropriate.
- 3.2.1 Every year, more of the Elders traditional knowledge is documented.
- 3.2.2 By 2020, key cultural resources are inventoried and assessed.
- 3.2.3 By 2024, gaps in traditional and scientific knowledge are identified and priorities are set.
- 3.2.4 By 2024, a cultural and natural resource monitoring approach is being implemented.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is an important part of our collective heritage. We need to work together to improve local and national awareness and understanding of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho. Improvements to outreach and communication are required and will yield benefits to the community of Délı̨nę and other Canadians who have the opportunity to learn about and visit this special place.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is nationally significant. Efforts to improve outreach to community residents and national audiences need to expand. Collaboration is needed to create and promote opportunities for visitors to take part in authentic, fulfilling cultural experiences (defined by the community). Simultaneously, we need to support to Délįne organizations in their efforts to realize greater economic benefits from Saoyú-Ɂehdacho.
- 4.1 Improve understanding and awareness of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho and integrate Saoyú-Ɂehdacho into the daily life of Délįne.
- 4.2 Create and promote opportunities for visitors to enjoy authentic, fulfilling and respectful Saoyú-Ɂehdacho experiences and for Délı̨nę to realize greater tourism benefits from Saoyú-Ɂehdacho
- 4.1.1 Sahtúgot’įnę awareness and engagement in the management of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is improved.
- 4.1.2 The Sahtúgot’įnę dialect is used in Saoyú-Ɂehdacho communication products and management discussions.
- 4.1.3 Saoyú-Ɂehdacho and Sahtúgot’įnę Heritage are showcased through web and social media channels.
- 4.1.4 The cooperative management of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is well communicated and understood by Sahtúgot’įnę and regional partners as well as at the national level.
- 4.2.1 By 2018, a safety plan for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is in place.
- 4.2.2 Saoyú-Ɂehdacho programming is increasingly integrated into the Délįne tourism offer.
- 4.2.3 By 2020, on-site experiences for visitors are explored and delivered with Délı̨nę organizations and other partners.
- 4.2.4 By 2024, a shared Saoyú-Ɂehdacho office, community and visitor reception space is in place in Délįne.
Saoyú-Ɂehdacho is about a long-term relationship between Parks Canada and the Sahtúgot’įnę (including individual Sahtúgot’įne, the Délįne Land Corporation, the Délįne Renewable Resources Council and Délįne Businesses). This relationship must be nurtured and kept strong.
In accordance with the principles and requirements of the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement, we need to develop the capacity of Sahtúgot’įnę individuals, organizations and businesses to take full advantage of and play a central role, with Parks Canada, in the cooperative management and development of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho.
- 5.1 Develop Sahtúgot’įne management and business capacities.
- 5.1.1 A Capacity Plan (described in the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement) is prepared, implemented and reviewed, and updated as needed over the next 10 years.
6.0 Summary of Strategic Environmental Assessment
Parks Canada is responsible for assessing and mitigating the impacts of management actions on ecosystems and on cultural resources. The Cabinet Directive on the Environmental Assessment of Policy, Plan and Program Proposals prepared by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (Government of Canada, 2010), requires a strategic environmental assessment of all plans and policy submitted to the federal Cabinet or to a Minister for approval deemed to have important positive or negative environmental effects.
A strategic environmental assessment was undertaken on this management plan, and the management direction found within has been adjusted to respond to findings. The following is a summary of the environmental assessment:
The SEA evaluated the potential for effects on natural resources, cultural resources, visitor experience, public education and awareness, and relationships with communities and Aboriginal partners. This evaluation considered the targets outlined in the plan to determine if they might have adverse or positive environmental effects. Many targets are not expected to cause adverse environmental effects.
The Plan identifies numerous positive environmental effects and ways of enhancing them, these include:
- Increased knowledge of natural and cultural resources through research and monitoring and the documentation of traditional and scientific knowledge;
- Greater communication of knowledge gathered about SENHS from community members and the use of this information to inform site management initiatives;
- Enhanced collaboration with territorial and community partners to facilitate effective management; and
- Greater connections between Canadians and the site to encourage public awareness, understanding, and support for site management.
The Plan identifies several targets as having the potential to result in important positive and/or adverse interactions with the environment:
- The development of community and visitor experience opportunities with specific targets to promote on-site experiences for visitors and build new infrastructure for traditional camps at Saoyú and Ɂehdacho;
- The development and implementation of fire management practices; and
- The development and implementation of a visitor safety plan.
For the current number of visitors and community users, adverse environmental effects are expected to be negligible because they are small in geographic area and of low frequency and magnitude. However, this may change over the life of the plan. A sustainability plan will be developed for the traditional camp on Saoyú at Tłıɂehdá́; it will be important to ensure that this plan includes mitigation measures to address adverse effects, in addition to identifying monitoring measures used to inform the Management Board about the extent of effects from any increase in the number and scope of visitation and community use. Additionally, site specific best management practices may be developed to manage guided activities.
A comprehensive fire management plan that includes impact assessment considerations should be prepared. Last, the modification or building of infrastructure for visitor safety or traditional camp use may require preliminary screening under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act.
The Plan was developed through a partnership between Parks Canada, the Délı̨nę Land Corporation and the Délı̨nę Renewable Resources Council, working together through the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Management Board (the Management Board). Public consultation was conducted in 2015 and concerns raised were incorporated into the Plan as appropriate.
The Strategic Environmental Assessment concluded that the “Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site of Canada Management Plan” would have several positive effects and is not likely to cause any important negative effects. The plan will contribute to the objectives of “Planning for a Sustainable Future: Federal Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada” (2010) by protecting nature.
- means the Management Board and authorized representatives of the Parties;
- “Commemorative Integrity Statement”
- means the Commemorative Integrity Statement, Sahyoue (Grizzly Bear Mountain) Edacho (Scented Grass Hills) National Historic Site of Canada (2004), approved by the Délı̨nę Dene Band, now known as the Délı̨nę First Nation, the Délı̨nę Land Corporation and Parks Canada;
- “Heritage” and “Heritage of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho”
- mean all of the nationally-significant resources – both natural and human-made – and the associated values of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho, including:
- The landscape and its ecological and commemorative integrity;
- Cultural and archaeological resources and their values in relation to Saoyú-Ɂehdacho; and
- Sahtúgot’įnę traditional knowledge, including the oral history values of Saoyú-Ɂehdacho;
- “Management Plan”
- means this management plan for Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS;
- “One Trail Report”
- means One Trail, Facilitator’s Report on the Sahyoue and Edacho Directions-Confirming Workshop (November 8-10/05) (December 17, 2005);
- “Sahtúgot’įnę traditional knowledge” and “traditional knowledge”
- mean that evolving body of Sahtúgot’įnę concepts, values, stories, cosmology, philosophy, law, ethics, and land use and resource management practices regarding Saoyú-Ɂehdacho;
- means the parties to the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site of Canada Protected Area and Cooperative Management Agreement — the Délı̨nę Land Corporation, the Délı̨nę Renewable Resources Council, and Parks Canada;
- means the Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement (1993);
- “Sahtú Lands”
- means those lands held in trust for beneficiaries of the SDMCLCA, pursuant to Article 19 of that Agreement;
- is the term by which the people of Délı̨nę refer to themselves;
- “Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement”
- means the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site of Canada Protected Area and Cooperative Management Agreement (2008);
- “Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS” and “Saoyú-Ɂehdacho”
- mean Saoyú-Ɂehdacho National Historic Site of Canada; Note that “Saoyú-Ɂehdacho” is variously spelled, including “Sahyoue and Edacho”, but all of these terms refer to the same two places;
- “Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Management Board” and the “ Management Board”
- mean the board established by the Saoyú-Ɂehdacho Agreement, through which the Parties have agreed to manage Saoyú-Ɂehdacho NHS by consensus.
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