Social and Ecological Justice Webinars

Towards Reconciliation: 10 Calls to Action to Natural Scientists Working in Protected Areas


Gùdia (Mary Jane) Johnson, Lhu’ààn Mân Ku Dań (Kluane First Nation) Elder

Carmen Wong, Parks Canada

Thursday, December 2, 2021   •    3:00pm ET    •    Open to all, free of charge

Register here



Many protected areas were created by the expulsion of Indigenous Peoples from their Traditional Homelands. This history drives a need for reconciliation in all aspects of the management of protected areas. Here we reimagine how research could be conducted in protected areas by drawing on our recently published paper in Facets outlining 10 Calls to Action to natural scientists to enable reconciliation (


In 2015, after documenting testimonies from Indigenous survivors of the residential school system in Canada, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released 94 Calls to Action to enable reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. Without personal connections to Indigenous Communities, many people fail to grasp the depth of intergenerational impacts of residential schools and associated systemic racism. Consequently, reconciliation remains an elusive concept. In this webinar, we will outline 10 Calls to Action to natural scientists to enable reconciliation in their work.  We focus on natural scientists because a common connection to the land should tie the social license of natural scientists more closely to Indigenous Communities than currently exists.  We also focus on natural sciences because of the underrepresentation of Indigenous Peoples in this field.  We draw on existing guidelines and our experiences in northern Canada. 


Our 10 Calls to Action are triggered by frustration.  The presenters have witnessed examples where natural scientists treat Indigenous Communities with blatant disrespect or with ignorance of Indigenous Rights.  These 10 Calls to Action challenge the protected areas community to recognize that reconciliation requires a new way of conducting natural science, one that includes and respects Indigenous Communities, Rights and Knowledges, leading to better scientific and community outcomes.


Gùdia – Mary Jane Johnson

Gùdia is a Lhu’ààn Mân Ku Dań Elder who worked for Parks Canada and Kluane First Nation for over 40 years on protected areas, environment, cultural, and Indigenous language issues. She is a champion for Indigenous language revitalization while partaking in a community that actively lives their culture. She contributes an objective perspective to several boards and committees and sits as an active committee member on: the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report Response Task Force addressing the TRC's Call to Action #70 reporting to the Standing Committee on Canada’s Archives; the Asi Keyi Natural Environment Park Management Plan Steering Committee; the Pickhandle Lakes Habitat Protection Area Steering Committee; the Canadian Mountain Network – Research Management Committee;  the Canadian Mountain Assessment – Canadian Advisory Committee; and the Dan Keyi Renewable Resource Council.  She is retired and is a happy and busy Grandmother of eleven Grandchildren and one Great Grandson.


Carmen Wong

Carmen is the ecologist for Kluane National Park and Reserve in Yukon and has been working there for the last 13 years leading the monitoring program for Parks Canada.  She holds a PhD in forest ecology from the University of British Columbia and a Masters in resource management from Simon Fraser University.  She has an extensive background researching forest dynamics with a particular interest in what happens in boreal and subalpine forests after bark beetles and fire. She is also currently looking at why kokanee salmon follow a boom/bust cycle.  Before coming to Yukon, her education was 100% based in western science.  Her world view shifted after working collaboratively with and learning from Gùdia and others from Yukon First Nations.