Maawaanji’iwe (Getting People Together)
The Community Nominated Priority Place (CNPP) was established through sharing creative ideas on how to work together to improve the wellbeing of species at risk on the coast of Georgian Bay. We know that there is strength and value in partnership. Maawaanji’iwe (getting people together) allows for the sharing of ideas and resources as well as growing understanding of culture, governance, and the processes used to protect species and habitats.
From the start, the application to become a Priority Place was based on the collaborative effort of many organizations. Communities and individuals on the coast have been involved in various types of species at risk research and protection for many years. The ideas generated from those collective experiences were brought together to shape the purpose and objectives of the application to Environment and Climate Change Canada.
Resources from the various organizations were brought to the table to leverage the grant while partners including municipalities and First Nations stepped forward with in-kind and financial commitments. We relied on staff expertise from multiple levels of government to ensure the proposed project would meet multiple sets of government criteria while advancing goals for species at risk conservation.
One of the key components of the project overall is idea sharing across numerous audiences, platforms, and timeframes. Communication plays a significant role to ensure that we have a shared understanding of the ‘Why’ of our work and the many ‘Hows’ with a deeper understanding of each other’s roles.
Integral to this is the development or strengthening of a deeper relationship with the territory, with each other, and with all living things. Across all of our work, we are mindful of the need for, and application of, Two-Eyed Seeing. This includes improving our understanding of First Nation Treaty relationships and responsibilities as well as building our understanding of the cultural lenses through which our work is done. To this end, the CNPP project has created the Mawaanji’iwe position to provide learning opportunities and to help navigate improved relationship-building.
Did you know that Two-Eyed Seeing is defined by Mi’kmaw Elder Albert Marshall as the ability “to see from one eye with the strengths of Indigenous ways of knowing, and to see from the other eye with the strengths of Western ways of knowing, and to use both of these eyes together”Excerpt from Two-eyed seeing and other lessons learned within a co-learning journey of bringing
together indigenous and mainstream knowledge and ways of knowing. Read it here.
Partnership and relationship building is crucial to a strong, effective project. When done properly, it requires those involved to look at a vision of working together that is often more than 10, 20, or more years away. It means anticipating the rich quality of working together toward the common purpose of caring for Mama Akii (Mother Earth) and all the living things, including one another. The sense of community collaboration is hard to measure or quantify but it can be felt strongly when it is going well. We value this CNPP initiative for the time and space it is providing to develop the community.