The Tłı̨chǫ Government is to receive up to $2 million from Ottawa to help conserve an area of 22,000 square kilometres between Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake.
Together, the protected spaces represent an area only slightly smaller than Great Slave Lake itself.
“Our land, our culture, and our way of life are what our people have always relied on and will continue to do so,” said Tłı̨chǫ Grand Chief George Mackenzie in a news release.
The Tłı̨chǫ Government said the money would be used to support its existing land planning, through a document known as the Tłı̨chǫ Wenek’e.
Gowhadǫ̀ Yek’e t’ii k’e is known as the Traditional Use Zone. Tłı̨chǫ Nawoo Ké Dét’ahot’ìı is known as the Cultural Heritage Zone.
“The Tłı̨chǫ Wenek’e was developed through the eyes of our elders to protect and promote our way of life and the transfer of knowledge to future generations,” said Mackenzie.
“These types of partnerships will only continue to strengthen our relationship and build on reconciliation.”
The Tłı̨chǫ Government added some of the federal cash will support the establishment of a proposed territorial protected area named Dınàgà Wek’èhodì on the north arm of Great Slave Lake.
A map issued by the federal government shows the Traditional Use Zone and Cultural Heritage Zone.
The money will also “contribute significantly to the achievement of territorial, national, and international biodiversity conservation targets through Indigenous-led conservation efforts,” the Tłı̨chǫ Government said, and support climate change and adaptation research.
The federal government said the funding represented “reconciliation in action.”
According to Ottawa, the agreement will preserve and protect the habitat of 16 at-risk species, including boreal caribou, and will preserve migration corridors for barren-ground caribou.