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Caldwell First Nation And Parks Canada Reach Agreement To Explore Shared Governance Of The Proposed National Urban Park

Monday March 25th, 2024, 2:44pm

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Caldwell First Nation have entered into an agreement  with Parks Canada demonstrating reconciliation in action and the ability to come together. This MOU speaks to the relationship between Caldwell First Nation and Parks Canada in working towards ongoing exploration of shared governance and collaborative management for a proposed national urban park in the Windsor area.

“Signing this agreement at Point Pelee National Park, the heart of our ancestral lands and waters, highlights the positive relationships we have already built with Parks Canada,” explained Chief Duckworth of Caldwell First Nation.

The Memorandum of Understanding is the result of over a year and a half of discussions between Caldwell First Nation and Parks Canada. It is a significant achievement for the members of Caldwell First Nation who were once forced off their lands and gives the Nation an opportunity to have a voice in the protection and management of the cultural and natural heritage at the proposed national urban park in the Windsor area.

“Our mother is sending a message we all need to listen to right now”, said Duckworth. “The message is that we as human beings are not being responsible for our mother who provides everything we need. As First Nations in Southwestern Ontario, we were never given the opportunity to contribute our ways of knowing, being, and doing. We will honour and protect all our relations now. We look forward to collaborating with Parks Canada on creating a First Nations approach to shared governance of the proposed Ojibway National Urban Park.”

The creation of this new urban park will enable First Nations to share the rich and meaningful cultural heritage and history of the ancestors, and the plants and trees that sustained them, and continue to exist in the areas that will be protected from future development. These lands include Ojibway Shores, Ojibway Park, Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve, Tallgrass Prairie Heritage Park, Black Oak Heritage Park, Turkey Creek, and Spring Garden Natural area, and Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve.

The MOU affirms a shared interest to collaboratively explore opportunities for cooperation between Caldwell First Nation and Parks Canada, including:

  • First Nation-led conservation;
  • Connecting people to First Nations history and to nature; and
  • Building commitments to ensure shared park management and operations, visitor experiences, and wildfire management.

“Parks Canada works in collaboration with Indigenous nations across the country to better represent and share their histories and cultures. As the original stewards of lands and waters in Canada, it is imperative that Indigenous peoples tell their stories. By enhancing relationships with First Nations, like we are doing with Caldwell First Nation, we are ensuring that the factual histories of these places are being shared with current and future generations. Caldwell First Nation can count on the ongoing support of Parks Canada as we continue to work together toward designating a new national urban park in Windsor.” said Ron Hallman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Parks Canada.

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