Reconciliation Stories Project

In 2018, with support from the Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the Community Conservation Research Network, CBRA developed a series of reflection papers and videos describing stories of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canadian biosphere reserves. The stories are authored by individuals who are connected to the biosphere reserve and provide diverse perspectives on how meaningful relationships are developed and how knowledge can be respectfully shared between cultures.

How Does one build meaningful relationships with Indigenous Peoples?

This is a questions that biosphere reserves have been asking Indigenous friends and partners for some time. In February of 2018, during a national gathering in Ottawa, Indigenous hosts of Canada’s biosphere reserves participated in the creation of a video that provides a number of responses to this important question.


At that same gathering in February of 2018, the Indigenous Circle for Biosphere Reserves in Canada was formalized with the statement "Making a Promise" (« Engagement solennel » in French). The statement asserts that Indigenous hosts of biosphere reserves should be integral to the governance and management of each site, from the establishment and implementation of projects to the development of co-governance and co-management structures that equally respect and value Western and Indigenous knowledge systems and decision-making processes.

Our Reflection Papers | Nos documents de réflexion

Here are some of the stories of reconciliation in Canada’s biosphere reserves, told by residents from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous perspectives.

Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve, Saskatchewan

Launched on June 17, 2019

Star blanket ceremony at Mistawasis Nehiyawak

Star blanket ceremony at Mistawasis Nehiyawak

astam, pī-pīkiskwātotān: “Come, let’s talk together” 

by Ian King, Anthony Blair Dreaver Johnston and John Kindrachuk 

astam, pī-pīkiskwātotān : « Viens, parlons-nous » 

Ian King, Anthony Blair Dreaver Johnston et John Kindrachuk 

For additional reflections about the history and meaning of Treaty No. 6 and the 21st century celebration of Treaty Day by Anthony Blair Dreaver Johnston, Mistawasis Nêhiyawak, click the button below.

Pour d’autres réflexions sur le Traité No 6 et le Jour anniversaire du traité au 21e siècle par Anthony Blair Dreaver Johnston de la première nation Mistawasis, veuillez cliquer ci-bas.

Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region, British Columbia

Launched on January 30, 2019

Snaw-naw-as Elders Debbie Bob (left) and Bonnie Jones (right) harvesting vegetables from the healing garden. Photo credit: Alison Drennan

Snaw-naw-as Elders Debbie Bob (left) and Bonnie Jones (right) harvesting vegetables from the healing garden. Photo credit: Alison Drennan

Working towards Reconciliation in the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region 

by ‘Ćumqwa:tun’ (Lawrence) Mitchell, Graham Sakaki, et al.

En route vers la réconciliation dans la Réserve de la biosphère du mont Arrowsmith 

‘Ćumqwa:tun’ (Lawrence) Mitchell, Graham Sakaki, et al., auteurs

Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve, Nova Scotia

Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region, British Columbia


Videos | Vidéos

See some of the videos that bring the above reflection papers to life. More videos are in the final stages of production and will be launched this summer.

Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve, SK

A story about friendship, reconciliation and common goals for the conservation of nature in the Redberry Lake Biosphere Reserve, Saskatchewan. (Copyright: Canadian Biosphere Reserves Association, 2019)

La couverture étoilée : Une histoire d'amitié, de réconciliation et d'objectifs communs pour la conservation de la nature dans la Réserve de biosphère de Redberry Lake, en Saskatchewan. (Droits d'auteur: Association canadienne des Réserves de la biosphère, 2019)

Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region, BC

An innovative governance model for the Mount Arrowsmith Biosphere Region in British Columbia, Canada, demonstrates how UNESCO biospheres are examples of Reconciliation in Action. (Produced in March 2017.)

Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Region, BC

On September 17, 2017, in the spirit of healing and reconciliation, residents and representatives of all communities in the Clayoquot Sound region came together to recognize their unique strengths, shared history, and cultural diversity. Hišinqʷiił represented an opportunity to step forward in a positive direction for the future of the region.

Bras d’Or Lake Biosphere Reserve, NS

The Bras d'Or Lake Biosphere Reserve includes the Bras d'Or Lake and its watershed. It comprises some 3,600 km2 in the centre of Cape Breton Island, located in Nova Scotia (Canada). UNESCO declared the Bras d'Or Lake Canada's 16th Biosphere Reserve in June 2011.