Manitoba is providing $531,000 in additional new financial and staffing support in 2009-10 for traditional lands planning and a UNESCO World Heritage Site nomination for the east side of Lake Winnipeg, Conservation Minister Stan Struthers announced today.
“As First Nations pursue their bid for a world heritage designation in eastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, the province will increase support for their efforts with investments in traditional lands planning,” said Struthers. The minister noted the Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi First Nations will receive priority attention as their land-use plans will be an essential component of the nomination document for the UNESCO world heritage designation.
The minister notes this investment includes a 30-per-cent increase in grant funding for the Pimachiowin Aki Corporation to prepare the nomination document and video. Manitoba Conservation funding in 2009-10 will increase by $80,000 to $340,000.
The Pimachiowin Aki Corporation, which is led by the Poplar River, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi and Pikagikum, Ont., First Nations, has a number of projects underway that will contribute to the final nomination document. Extensive community consultations, research, mapping and comprehensive community-based, land-use planning are required to complete the nomination. It will include the final boundaries of the site and will also describe the innovative ways the area will be managed using both traditional Anishinabe and western scientific knowledge.
“We continue to support the vision of a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Manitoba and Ontario and want to do our part to ensure this nomination meets the tough standards set by the World Heritage Committee and that it is developed as quickly as possible,” said Culture, Heritage, Tourism and Sport Minister Eric Robinson, acting minister of Aboriginal and northern affairs.
Pimachiowin Aki spokesperson Sophia Rabliauskas noted that, while these plans are being developed, the corporation is continuing its work on a variety of studies and community consultations required for the nomination. The completed nomination will include the final boundaries of the site and will also describe the innovative ways the area will be managed using both traditional Anishinabe and western scientific knowledge.
“Our UNESCO nomination has to be very detailed, starting with a vision from each of the First Nations partners on how they see the land being used and cared for. Our land-use plan for Poplar River is complete and the focus is now on getting the land-use plans for Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi completed. These extra resources and funding will help them get a lot of important work completed,” she said.
Creating a world heritage site in the area would not change the ownership of the land. Each jurisdiction would be responsible for planning and management in its area and all Aboriginal and treaty rights would remain fully protected, Struthers said.
For more information on Pimachiowin Aki Corporation, contact Gord Jones, project manager, at [email protected] or 204-275-1564 or visit www.pimachiowinaki.org. For more information on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) visit whc.unesco.org/.
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