CSLA's Indigenous Issues Task Force
(Photo: discussing landscape architecture and reconciliation at the CSLA-OALA 2018 Conference in Toronto. Photo by M. Legault)
In 2015 the component associations of the CSLA ratified the Canadian Landscape Charter (CLC). Through the CLC the CSLA upholds the following Core Principles :
- Recognize landscapes as vital: By ensuring that all landscapes are understood and respected for their geographic, cultural, heritage, social, aesthetic, economic and environmental values, whether as cultural and/or natural features, or as physical and/or abstract entities. By ensuring that all landscapes are considered, from the most precious and well-known to the most ignored and spoiled, whether they are wild, rural or urban.
- Consider all peoples: By increasing the awareness and understanding of the traditional values, ecological knowledge and practices of the various Canadian communities, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis Peoples, which relate to customary stewardship of the land, and by considering these values and practices in both management and design.
- Inspire stewardship: By embracing new knowledge, practices and tools together with traditional ecological knowledge and practices.
- Show leadership: By inspiring through principles, guidelines and metrics, exchanges on the subject of landscape amongst institutions, complementary disciplines and the general population across Canada; and by encouraging knowledge development and sharing, recognition of best practices, collaboration and outreach amongst multidisciplinary practitioners.
Consistent with these principles, the CSLA Board of Directors established (on Nov 6, 2016) the Indigenous Issues Task Force (IITF) with a mandate to prepare a discussion paper on the findings and recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
CSLA Awareness, Education, Leadership and Advocacy Opportunities
Development and implementation of a response to the TRC and UNDRIP is in keeping with the CSLA mandate, the principles of the Canadian Landscape Charter, and the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan: Raise the Profile of Landscape Architecture in Canada and Abroad.
The Opportunity for Collaboration
Beyond stated principles and moral imperatives there is also tremendous opportunity in partnering with Canada’s Indigenous communities in effectively and sustainably managing the landscape and waters of Canada for economic, social and cultural purposes. These opportunities for collaboration, whether local and national in scope, call upon landscape architecture to have informed awareness of the legislative, policy and legal context; and an appreciation for the unique culture and perspectives of Indigenous groups. The core facilitation, communication, collaboration and transformation skills of landscape architects give our profession the opportunity to become the bridge to an evolving relationship with Canada’s Indigenous peoples that is rooted in respect for the land and each other.
“The Commission believes that reconciliation cannot be left up to governments, the courts, and churches alone. There must also be a dialogue and action in communities across the country. Reconciliation must happen across all sectors of Canadian society. Canadians still have much to learn from each other.” (TRC, p.305)
Members of the Indigenous Issues Task Force
Chris Grosset (Chair)