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Area residents named to advisory panel

first nations panel

Chief Wilton Littlechild signs the Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel mandate. Standing, from left: Reg Crowshoe, chief scientist Fred Wrona, Environment Minister Shannon Phillips, Henry Lickers ,Jill Baron, Leroy Little Bear, Melody Lepine and Harley Bastien.

Area residents Dr. Leroy Little Bear, Reg Crowshoe and Harley Bastien were named last week to an environmental panel.
The Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel will advise Fred Wrona, Alberta’s chief scientist, about how to incorporate Indigenous perspectives and traditional ecological knowledge into environmental monitoring.
“Indigenous wisdom is fundamental to measuring, assessing and informing on the condition of Alberta’s environment,” Wrona said. “By braiding the advice of the Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel with that of the Science Advisory Panel, we will create long-term environmental monitoring programs that reflect both scientific experts and indigenous communities.”
The panel includes academics, industry experts, elders and a former Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada commissioner.
The seven-member expert panel is the first legislated advisory body of its kind in Canada.
Also named to the panel were Elmer Ghostkeeper, Henry Lickers, Melody Lepine and Wilton Littlechild.
“This panel is a step towards a holistic approach to monitoring, built on a commitment to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” Environment Minister Shannon Phillips said.
Legislated in spring 2016, the panel’s mandate is the product of months of collaboration with the panel following a blanket ceremony at Government House in October.
The mandate includes several unique features, including a consensus-based process for giving collective advice and a recognition of the importance of both oral and written communication.
Twice a year, the Indigenous Wisdom Advisory Panel will meet with the chief scientist to discuss how to improve approaches to applying indigenous wisdom in environmental monitoring.
The same legislation governs the Science Advisory Panel, which will assess the scientific quality of environmental monitoring.
“We recognize the value of Indigenous and local knowledge in helping interpret the environment around us and the changes taking place,” Science Advisory Panel chair Jill Baron said. “This joint meeting between the two panels is an exciting step towards a new approach to Alberta’s environmental monitoring, evaluation and reporting system.”

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