Since long before provincial land borders were drawn, the Kaska Dena people have lived in BC’s far north, southeast Yukon, and southern Northwest Territories.
Their ancestral lands extend across a wilderness larger than Vancouver Island. Imagine four million hectares of sweeping wilderness: wild rivers, stretches of alpine, canyons, freshwater lakes. A place with no roads and no power lines, filled with diverse wildlife like caribou, moose and mountain goats. A place where you can walk along ancient Indigenous trails for weeks without meeting another human soul.
Dene Kʼéh Kusān: Protecting more of BC
At the heart of the Kaska’s ancestral lands sits the largest intact landscape in BC: Dene Kʼéh Kusān. It means Always Will Be There.
At CPAWS-BC, we’re working with the Kaska Dena to bring Dene Kʼéh Kusān to life. Together, we want to ensure that the Kaska and their ancestral lands will thrive today and in the future. Together, we’ve built a plan for protecting this vital piece of northern BC, which would add 4% to BC’s protected area percentage. We’re humbled to play a role in this work.
In the face of worsening forest fires and severe loss of biodiversity, and in the spirit and practice of reconciliation, we’re asking the federal and BC governments to support the Kaska’s plan for an Indigenous Protected and Conserved Area (IPCA).
This conservation plan builds on existing special management zones inside the Muskwa-Kechika Management Area, designed to sustain and create jobs for Kaska communities and conserve biodiversity. Conservation areas protect animals, plants, and cultural places while minimizing overlap with existing mining, oil, and gas extraction sites.
This plan asks governments to ensure Kaska Territory:
- Does not suffer the devastating effects of climate change and biodiversity loss we’re seeing across BC, Canada and around the world
- Remains intact, which is critical to preserving Kaska peoples’ material, cultural and spiritual lives
- Continues to shelter seven key herds of Whūdzī (Caribou), a species struggling to feed itself and reproduce in other parts of the province
- Sustains and creates economic opportunities for Kaska and others in northern communities
- Becomes a world-class protected area for British Columbians to explore and enjoy
- Creates a climate change safe haven for other at-risk species like Wood Bison, Barn Swallows, Wolverines, Grizzly Bear and more
The Kaska Dena are working with partners to protect Dene K’éh Kusān in a way that creates jobs, supports a thriving Kaska culture, shelters threatened species and becomes a world-class Protected Area. Add your name to the Dene K’éh Kusān Statement of Support here.