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About Kakfwi & Associates
A Strong Voice in Environment


"You can’t depend on federal politicians and officials in Ottawa to effectively manage the north’s environment and resources. One day our government institutions, both public and Aboriginal, will have the complete control required to manage our environment from a truly northern perspective. In the meantime, we need to use everything at our disposal, like land rights agreements and traditional knowledge, to effectively make our case."

Northern Aboriginal people have been on the cutting edge of resource and environment management over the last three decades. After years of living with the devastation of mining and oil and gas development, they forced government and industry to adopt new approaches to resource development in the 1970s. These new approaches have served as models throughout Canada and the rest of the world.

Stephen Kakfwi can speak with knowledge and passion about the northern land and its resources because he grew up on the land. His elders passed on the traditional knowledge which is critical to making wise decisions about managing and developing northern resources, both renewable and non-renewable.

Since the 1970s, the NWT Aboriginal people have had to make tradeoffs between resource development and protecting the land in its original state. Pipelines have been built to move gas, hydro projects have been developed and diamond mines are now operating.

These developments have come at a cost, but at least NWT Aboriginal People and their institutions have had a say in when, where and how resource development will take place. In his capacity as an Aboriginal leader or Minister and Premier in the territorial government, Kakfwi has worked to ensure that Aboriginal voices are heard.

The latest challenge facing NWT Aboriginal people is to make decisions about protecting land and resources along the Mackenzie Valley before large scale pipeline and gas field development proceeds. Again, Stephen Kakfwi has been in the forefront, leading an initiative to develop and implement the NWT Protected Areas Strategy.

Eventually, the NWT will secure power over the management and development of its environment and resources. Stephen Kakfwi has been a strong supporter of transferring these powers to northern institutions and ensuring that Aboriginal people have a strong role in future decision making on the northern environment.

 

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Copyright @ 2010 Stephen Kakfwi
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