The North is a place of sparse human population and immense natural resources (both renewable and non-renewable). The people who rely on this land and its resources are being pressured by global demands to develop and extract resources at alarming rates. The VGFN need to ensure that development within our territory and beyond (i.e. Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or ANWR for short) is being conducted with our best interest in mind. We need to modify and improve policy and management regulations so that they better reflect our goals and values.
First Nations’ participation in resource development projects is continuously changing. Some would argue that it is improving the situation for First Nations and their communities, while others would argue that First Nations still lack meaningful decision-making regarding the land on which we live off of. My area of interest involves the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN) and our aspirations of suitable resource development within our settlement lands. I am not only interested in these issues because I am a VGFN member, but also because as a First Nations person I feel it is of the utmost importance to maintain responsible stewardship over the land and its resources that sustain our traditional way of life. I embarked on this coarse hoping to advance my knowledge on the topic at hand and better equip my people with the knowledge needed for future resource development that will affect our traditional territory.
I would like resource development decision-making within our traditional territory be done with the best interests of the VGFN in mind. I want the VGFN to be the ones making the important decision-making. My hope is that the VGFN will be in a good position to make informed decisions when development in our territory takes place. The “Live, Learn and Lead: Leadership and Sustainable Development in the Circumpolar North”coarse provided me with tools for discovering new sources, organizations, and resources on resource development in the Arctic. The tools were not only useful for learning over the past two weeks but will also aid in future research. Some of the research methods learned helped me discover the following sources, links, and organizations:
- North Yukon Regional Land Use Plan
- Vuntut Gwitchin Integrated Community Sustainability Plan 2009
- YESAB: http://www.yesab.ca/
- Feket Report: http://www.emr.gov.yk.ca/oilandgas/pdf/fekete_report_final.pdf
- Yukon Planning Atlas: Yukon Land Use Planning Council: http://126.96.36.199:8080/atlas.php
- Centre for Indigenous Environmental Resources: http://www.cier.ca/default.aspx
My personal goal is to learn as much as possible on the subject at hand; I am currently a Jane Glassco Arctic Fellow which has given me the opportunity to continue my research on First Nations involvement with resource development. I plan to work with my community on land and resource management in hopes that any future resource development is done in a sustainable manor that will not detriment our traditional lifestyle now and for future generations.