Honouring the wisdom, vision, and ki ki no mah gay win (teachings) of the Elders to guide use of the land and respectful relations between each other and with the land

Published: 05 October 2020
Last edited: 06 October 2020

Elders and others with land-based knowledge (ki ki no mah gay win) are important for their role in guiding decision-making in personal, family and community matters related to use of the land. Knowledgeable Elders are respected for their role in ensuring continuity of Ji-ganawendamang Gidakiiminaan (keeping the land). Elders advocated for the community voice to be heard in defining strategic direction for Ancestral Lands, and in the nomination dossier and all communications and decisions about Pimachiowin Aki. Elders are part of Annual General Meetings, regular and special meetings of the Corporation, planning team meetings, and community-based lands working group meetings, to guide protection and management of Pimachiowin Aki in accordance with the principles of Ji-ganawendamang Gidakiiminaan. Adherence to these principles requires local community authority in protection and management and a continued presence on the land. Those with the greatest experience on the land (e.g. Elders, head trappers, trapline helpers and others with personal and family ties to specific family harvesting areas) are leaders in sharing Akiiwi-gikendamowining and ensuring compliance with the principles of Ji-ganawendamang Gidakiiminaan


Communication, outreach and awareness building
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution

Enabling factors

  • First Nations Accord.
  • Drafting the Nomination dossier.
  • Elders and Youth Forum.
  • Elders’ willingness to share their knowledge with the rest of the world 
  • Community-driven, Elders-led process.
  • Elders’ willingness to devote their time and energy in taking part in meetings outside the communities to ensure their voices are heard and understood.
  • Meetings of community-based land working groups.

Lessons learned

  • Patience in land management planning and nomination processes to ensure Elders are engaged early and often.  
  • Giving attention to political imperatives but not allowing them to dictate schedule / deadlines.
  • Indigenous-led nominations or any other initiative must include Elders’ knowledge and voices at the forefront at all stages.

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