The Wemindji Protected Area Partnership: Environment, Development and Sustainability in James Bay.
Our project originated as a partnership between the Cree Nation of Wemindji on the coast of James Bay in Northern Quebec and an interdisciplinary team of researchers associated with McGill University's School of Environment. It has grown to include researchers at Concordia University and the University of Manitoba, and to include as partners the Grand Council of the Crees (Eeyou Istchee), Parks Canada, the Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les Changements Climatiques (MDDELCC) du Québec and the Québec Chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (SNAP).
Our goal is to establish a network of protected areas anchored in Cree knowledge and institutions for land and sea management, to achieve combined goals of regional sustainability, biodiversity protection, and cultural continuity. To date, the project has led to the establishment of the Paakumshumwaau-Maatuuskaau Réserve de Biodiversité Projetée (Projected Biodiversity Reserve) in April 2008 and has established momentum toward the development of the Tawich (Marine) Conservation Area, which is expected to be a joint undertaking by the east coast James Bay Cree communities, the Grand Council of the Crees and Parks Canada.