Conestoga will receive $360,000 in federal funding over the next three years to support an applied research project focused on urban land co-management strategies rooted in traditional Indigenous land-based practices and knowledge.
Funding to support an applied research project focused on urban land co-management strategies rooted in traditional Indigenous land-based practices will be provided, in part, by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through its College and Community Social Innovation Fund.
Funding for the project -- titled An Indigenous Land-based Futurity -- will be provided, in part, by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through its College and Community Social Innovation Fund (CCSIF).
Building on work accomplished by local grassroots Indigenous community organizations and through an ongoing project titled Restoring Language, Culture and Land: Mobilizing a community around Indigenous Knowledges, supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) through the CCSIF, the initiative will allow for enhanced coordinated land restoration efforts by Conestoga and local partners, including the City of Kitchener, White Owl Native Ancestry Association and the Wisahkotewinowak Urban Indigenous Garden Collective.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many adverse social determinants of health within urban Indigenous communities across the country,” said Indigenous Studies professor Garrison McCleary, who will facilitate the project for the college. “This, combined with the closure of many community food gardens and urban parks at the beginning of the pandemic, has further stressed urban Indigenous Peoples’ relationship with the land.”
Efforts of the project will focus on securing sustainable, traditional food and medicines, as well as increasing local biodiversity through habitat restoration and the reintroduction of native species. The initiative is designed to build community capacity and mobilize knowledge by exercising land co-management and relational agricultural practices.
An Indigenous Land-based Futurity is one of two recently announced projects at Conestoga supported by funding from NSERC’s College and Community Social Innovation Fund. Both projects add to the college’s growing capacity in applied research that drives business and community innovation while providing opportunities for students to develop career-ready skills in experiential learning environments. More than 3,100 students and close to 240 faculty and staff were engaged in applied research projects during the 2019-2020 academic year.
For more information, visit www.conestogac.on.ca/research.