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The Cree Land Use Mapping Project: Integrating Traditional Knowledge into Forestry Planning. World Indigenous Network Conference 2013 May 28, 2013, Darwin Australia. Presented by: Christopher Beck ( Cree Regional Authority/Grand Council of the Crees E.I)

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the cree land use mapping project integrating traditional knowledge into forestry planning
The Cree Land Use Mapping Project:Integrating Traditional Knowledge into Forestry Planning

World Indigenous Network Conference 2013

May 28, 2013, Darwin Australia

Presented by:

Christopher Beck (Cree Regional Authority/Grand Council of the Crees E.I)

Arthur Bosum (Oujé-Bougoumou Cree Nation)

content of presentation
Content of Presentation
  • Background
  • - The Crees and EeyouIstchee
  • - The treaty context
  • Forestry context
  • - Paix des Braves Agreement
  • - Adapted forestry regime
  • 3. Cree Land Use Mapping project
    • - Project overview
    • - Data collection process
    • - Map products
    • - Interface with forestry planning
    • - Confidentiality of cultural data
  • 4. Future land use mapping needs
  • “EeyouIstchee” is the traditional territory of the Creesof northern Quebec. The term means “the land of the Eeyou/Eenou (the people)”. The Crees have lived in this homeland for thousands of years
  • More than 18,000 Crees, with 16,000 residing in nine Cree communities. A tenth community is in the process of being established
  • Cree traditional territory covers 400,000 km² (two-thirds the size of France). Whole territory is used by the Crees for traditional activities of hunting, fishing and trapping


  • Located between 48th and 56th parallels in northern Québec, in boreal and taiga ecozones
  • More than 300 traplines (family hunting territories)
  • Hundreds of mining claims, several major mine projects
  • Major impacts from hydroelectric development since early 1970s
  • In 1975, the Crees signed the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA) with the Governments of Canada and Québec, and the Inuit of Nunavik (Northern Québec)
  • JBNQA was first modern aboriginal land claim settlement treaty in Canada
  • Provided for rights and benefits related to local and regional government, land rights, natural resources, hunting, fishing and trapping, environmental protection, wildlife conservation, health, education, police and justice
  • In 2002, the Crees signed the “New Relationship Agreement” with the Government of Québec. This agreement has come to be known as the Paix des Braves.
  • Chapter 3 of the agreement created an “Adapted Forestry Regime” with provisions for the improved harmonization of forestry activities with the Cree traditional way of life
  • Provides for special management standards including mosaic cutting and minimum forest cover requirements, and areas of special interest for wildlife, to maintain the habitat of key species such as moose, beaver, fish and caribou
  • Over 70,000 km² of forestry development
  • More than 2,000,000 m³ of wood harvested per year
  • +15,000 km of roads
  • 5 Cree communities (125 traplines) affected by forestry
  • 16,000 non-Creeslive in a small number of resource-based towns in this area
cree land use mapping clum project
Cree Land Use Mapping (CLUM) Project


  • To record Cree land use and occupancy data to serve as a means for integrating Cree values and interests into the forestry participation and planning process
  • To further develop the research design, methods, tools and capacity (local and regional) to serve as a foundation for future land use mapping initiatives in EeyouIstchee
project team
Project Team

Cree Regional Authority (CRA) core project team:

  • Project manager
  • Project researcher
  • 2 GIS technicians

Cree communities (Nemaska, Waswanipi, Oujé-Bougoumou, Mistissini, Waskaganish)

  • 2 forestry (JWG members) staff from each of 5 communities

Advisory team

  • CRA staff with relevant expertise
  • External consultants/land use mapping experts: technical advice when needed
  • Cree-Quebec Forestry Board: Advise and support with forestry related components of project


  • Waswanipi Cree Model Forest (2004-2006)
    • Intensive interviewing on small number of traplines
    • Family Map and Conservation Value Map concept
    • NdohoIstcheemethodology
  • CRA Land Use Mapping Project (2006)
    • Family Map and Forest Planning Support Map
    • CRA and forestry affected Cree Nations collaboration
  • Refining Methodology
  • Living Proof (2009): Used Terry Tobias manual to assist in fine tuning design and standardization of data collection methodology
data collection
Data Collection
  • Custom base maps produced by CRA GIS technicians, scale 1:50:000
  • Data collection manual and interview guides were prepared by the CRA
  • Mapping team: one lead interviewer, one note taker, and an interpreter when needed
  • Interviews were conducted in both Cree and English languages
data collection1
Data Collection

Progress of interviews to date

  • Completed 65 interviews
  • Included 100 participants
  • Addressed 55 traplines
  • Mapped over 5500 features
  • (average 100 per trapline)
  • Interviews done on a trapline by trapline basis
  • Interviews conducted with the Tallyman (family hunting territory leader) and other land users invited by the tallyman
product 1 cree land use map
Product 1: Cree land use map
  • Cree Land use maps (or “Family Maps”)
  • Contains all of the cultural data collected, with written notes on the side providing more info for each mapped feature.
  • For use of tallymen and land users only
  • Used for internal trapline level planning by land users, documenting family history, transmitting knowledge to younger generations etc.
  • Cree land use data can be used internally by the CRA for analytical purposes and for protecting Cree rights and interests. The confidential information cannot be shared with 3rd parties without the consent of the tallyman
product 2 cree planning support m ap
Product 2: Cree Planning Support Map

Cree Planning Support Maps

  • Provides information for forestry planning and consultations. Does not include some data that is highly sensitive/confidential or not relevant for forestry planning
  • Digital version of planning support map data will be made available by CRA to Government forestry planners at the beginning of forestry plan development to identify sectors where there may be issues that need to be discussed/harmonized
  • Face to face meetings occur between forestry planner and tallyman and forestry JWG members to discuss forestry harmonization measures.
  • The confidentiality quandary: The Creeswant to protect sensitive cultural sites from the public by keeping their locations secret. However if cultural data are not shared in public planning processes, these sites that are important to the Creeswon’t be recognized and protected.
  • The Quebec Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) forestry planners will have access to Cree Planning Support Map data in digital form through password protected, web mapping service. Data is housed on CRA server. A confidentiality agreement will be signed with the MNR to frame this
  • CLUM confidentiality regime also includes:
    • Permission form, signed by tallyman and interviewees
    • Confidentiality Agreements for:
      • CRA staff
      • Consultants
      • Community level forestry JWG members
      • Cree-Quebec Forestry Board staff
next steps
Next steps
  • Digitization and processing of interview data (by September 2013)
  • Preparation land use and planning support maps and validation with tallymen (by November 2013)
  • Training on use of maps and confidentiality protocols (by December 2013)
land use mapping future needs
Land use mapping: Future needs
  • CLUM project is building the foundation and capacity for future land use mapping initiatives on the whole of EeyouIstchee
  • Could be useful for areas such as mining, protected areas, wildlife management, environmental and social impact assessment
  • Important for future land use planning processes, to be implemented through a new regional Governance Agreement signed with the Québec Government (2012)


Thank you!