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 to 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 of biosphere reserves in Ottawa, members of CBRA’s Indigenous Circle participated in the creation of a video that provides a number of responses to this important question.


During this same gathering in February of 2018, members of CBRA’s Indigenous Circle created the statement "Making a Promise" (« Engagement solennel » in French), which describes the ways in which CBRA’s Indigenous Circle envisions its involvement with Canada’s biosphere reserves, 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 tools.

Reflection Papers | documents de réflections


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


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 in this spring.

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.

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.