First Nations Culturally Significant Species Dialogues

Creating a space that doesn’t exist for First Nations to share knowledge and perspectives on Culturally Significant Species.

Initiative level: National & Regional Impact

Project Summary

Since 2021, the IISAAK OLAM Foundation has been supporting the Assembly of First Nations on the coordination, design, and facilitation of a series of virtual dialogues focused on First Nations perspectives and approaches to species management and conservation planning. We have also been supporting the development of educational tools about IPCAs for a First Nations audience. The goal of this initiative is to advocate for First Nations voices and approaches to be communicated more clearly and influence Crown (federal) policies on species management.

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National & Regional Impact

First Nations Culturally Significant Species Dialogues

IISAAK Olam's Role

Co-host of the dialogues, design of the sessions, facilitation, and promotion.



Where it's at now

The IISAAK OLAM Foundation and the Assembly of First Nations hosted the 2023 dialogues. A summary report of the 2023 dialogues will be released shortly.

Get involved

Check out the 2022 Dialogue Summary Report

Year 2 -Three Regional Dialogues (March 2022) on
Species at risk (SAR) and cultural Keystone species (CKS)

Goals of the sessions

The sessions were an opportunity to learn and share experiences about protecting species and places in an environmentally and culturally meaningful way, planning for abundance, and transforming existing Crown policies and processes around species management.

As with the 2021 SAR Introductory Dialogues (see more below), we were committed to creating a space for dialogue that builds community, develops a network of practitioners, and increases knowledge sharing amongst First Nations persons.

As we prepare a public-facing report on the 2022 Dialogues, we invite you to read the summary report on the 2021 Introductory Dialogues as well as the Cultural Keystone Species Blog Series we co-authored on the Conservation through Reconciliation Partnership’s website.

Graphic Recordings of the Sessions

Michelle Buchholz, an Indigenous graphic recorder and owner of of Cassyex Consulting, attended the three regional dialogues and presented the following visual reports, which will soon be accompanied by a written report.

Year 1 - Two national INTRODUCTORY DIALOGUEs (March 2021)

About the 2021 introductory dialogues

In March 2021, the IISAAK OLAM Foundation and the AFN co-hosted two national virtual sessions for First Nations to share stories, approaches, and perspectives on SAR protection, conservation, management, and recovery. We learned a lot from those who attended the 2021 dialogues. Key themes are captured in the visual summary below.

Graphic recorder Kelly Foxcroft-Poirier of White Raven Consulting has cultivated many of the emerging themes from those rich discussions, through her beautiful art (see below).


The IISAAK OLAM Foundation and the Assembly of First Nations co-lead this project.


Curtis Scurr, Assembly of First Nations

Monica Shore, IISAAK OLAM Foundation