The Federal and Territorial governments all have established responsibilities to consult and engage with aboriginal people and the public regarding wildlife management decisions that affect them. A special area of focus in community engagement processes over the past five years has been barren-ground caribou management. Regular engagement is part of Federal and Territorial Species At Risk processes.
As a manager of wildlife and forestry, the Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę Gotsę́ Nákedı is required to make decisions that have the potential to impact on the rights of beneficiaries, non-beneficiaries and the non-aboriginal population in the Sahtú Region. As such, the Board is required to consult, a duty which is outlined throughout the Sahtú Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement. For instance, the Board must consult with Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę (Renewable Resources Councils) when establishing and adjusting a Sahtú Needs Level.
The Board has a broader responsibility to engage with Ɂehdzo Got’ı̨nę and communities as part of the cooperative resource management framework. The Board is currently preparing a community engagement and consultation protocol that will serve two purposes. The first is to provide the Board with a guideline for fulfilling its consultation mandate in accordance with the land claim and Canadian legal requirements. The second is to inform the public of the Board’s duty and provide an opportunity for the public to hold the SRRB accountable.
The Courts have determined that “the first step of the consultation process is to discuss the process itself.” As such, the Board will be developing its consultation protocol in collaboration with co-management bodies, Aboriginal organizations and communities in the Sahtú region.