Indigenous stewards of the land take on cultural responsibilities for territories, while actively participating in their monitoring and governance. With land steward programs less well established in Quebec than elsewhere in Canada, Université Laval wanted to better understand the specifics of the programs undergoing or under development in Quebec and highlight the needs of Indigenous communities, with a view to setting up a training program for land stewards.
MU Conseils was commissioned by Université Laval and the Mastercard Foundation to conduct participatory research and produce recommendations regarding the better training of Indigenous land stewards. The project involved working with land stewards and key community players during consultations and a participatory workshop. It explored new avenues for building the capacity of Indigenous peoples across Quebec regarding territorial governance. The purpose was to propose a path towards a recognized and accredited program, while identifying the conditions for the success of such training and the culturally significant elements to be considered.
- A status report on existing land steward programs and activities in Indigenous communities across Quebec;
- Identification of conditions conducive to setting up a French-language university training program;
- Recommendations for moving forward with the implementation of a training program likely to strengthen the role of land stewards in decision-making and ecosystem protection, which are essential elements in the identity-building and self-determination of Indigenous communities;
- Following this support process, Université Laval set up a pilot training program for land stewards, with the first cohort starting the program in January 2023. A five-year partnership with the Mastercard Foundation was also signed in January 2022, enabling Université Laval to better support Original Peoples students in their studies.