The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation acknowledges that the programs we operate and the projects we fund across the province are within the traditional territories of Indigenous people who have been stewards of the land for time immemorial. We pledge to learn, engage, improve inclusiveness, and build respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples. In doing so, we will advance conservation, stewardship, and education to conserve, restore and enhance BC’s native fish and wildlife populations, and their habitats.
HCTF’s Commitment to Collaborative Conservation
The British Columbia government is committed to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and reconciliation with the First Nations and Indigenous peoples of BC. Habitat conservation and restoration can be a pathway towards this goal. The Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation (HCTF) commits to collaborating with Indigenous peoples to create better conservation outcomes for fish, wildlife, and their habitats for future generations as outlined in our 2022-2027 Strategic Plan.
HCTF staff and board members are learning about the role our organization can play in reconciliation, and how our organization can be accessible and inclusive to Indigenous peoples through our grants, programs, governance, and overall operations. HCTF is in the early stages of this very important work and welcome the learning opportunities and changes to come. This work is important to us, and we will meaningfully engage and build respectful relationships with Indigenous Nations and peoples to achieve caring, respectful, and equitable processes and operations.
Objective #4 of HCTF’s 2022 Strategic Plan outlines our commitment to:
Expand collaborations with organizations, agencies, and Indigenous peoples to build conservation connections and responsible use between people and nature.
- Meaningfully engage and build respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples to achieve better conservation outcomes.
- Broaden and diversify participation in HCTF programs and projects.
HCTF Progress – 2022
- Board and staff continue working with consultants, expanding knowledge through webinars/courses including Ethical Space and UNDRIP.
- Staff are engaging with individual Indigenous peoples to listen and learn about challenges and opportunities in conservation and with our granting programs.
- Staff are reviewing our granting process to make changes that will increase inclusiveness and reduce barriers.
- HCTF completed a recruitment process during the spring and summer and elected a Board Director who brings Indigenous perspectives and diversity.
HCTF Progress – 2023
- HCTF hired a Community Engagement Coordinator to identify opportunities for shared success and collaboration with First Nations and Indigenous communities across HCTF’s granting programs.
- Staff improved our responsible investing capability to screen out companies in our investing portfolio that have conflicts with Indigenous communities.
- Staff updated the conditional grant agreements to better support cultural and archaeological sites.
- We will continue to incorporate the feedback we hear from our Indigenous project leaders to make our grants and agreements more inclusive.
- HCTF launched Capacity Grants to provide funding to strengthen the capability of organizations to successfully design and deliver conservation projects; the Capacity Grant has a focus on Indigenous community-led projects.
- Staff organized a 3-day “boots-on-the-ground” caribou habitat restoration workshop that was hosted by Simpcw First Nation (Simpcw Resources Group) and included attendance by members of a First Nations-led collaborative technical working group in the region.
Local Land Acknowledgement
The staff of HCTF acknowledges that our office operates within the territories of the Lekwungen speaking peoples of the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Songhees ancestors and peoples. We are grateful for the welcoming spirit of these Nations that allow us to live and work on these lands.
Header Image: Nîkanêse Wah tzee Stewardship Society members surveying Peck Creek restoration, northeast of Mackenzie, BC