Applied Reconciliation: Indigenous Partnership Building

Applied Reconciliation: Indigenous Partnership Building
Applied Reconciliation refers to our water stewardship actions in Canada’s unceded traditional Territories of Indigenous People.

Applied Reconciliation: Indigenous Partnership Building

Key Takeaways:

  1. Living Lakes Canada works to protect water in the traditional lands of Ktunaxa, Secwepemc, Lheidli T’enneh, the Sinixt and the Sylix within the Columbia Basin. LLC also works across the province and country on water stewardship projects in the traditional territories of many nations.
  2. Recognizing Indigenous People as the rightful caretakers of their unceded territories, we work to complement their intergenerational work and Indigenous-led water stewardship initiatives,
  3. Living Lakes Canada acknowledges Indigenous Knowledge as paramount to water protection and restoration success. By unifying our efforts, we hope to decolonize relationships with water.
  4. Living Lakes Canada adheres to the First Nations Principles of OCAP® (Ownership, Control, Access, and Possession) in collecting and storing data.


Applied Reconciliation refers to our water stewardship actions in Canada’s unceded traditional Territories of Indigenous People. We work to align our water stewardship with Indigenous People’s priorities to develop a cross-cultural approach to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous People, government and policy makers. We value intergenerational work, Indigenous ways of knowing, and the interweaving of this knowledge for collective water monitoring priorities.


Meaningful collaborations and partnerships with Indigenous People regarding water stewardship priorities.


Indigenous-Led Webinar Series

In October 2021, Living Lakes Canada facilitated an Indigenous-Led Water Relationships within the Columbia Basin Webinar Series. The series was organized to make time and space for the Ktunaxa, Secwepemc, Syilx-Okanagan/Sinixt Peoples to share values, relationships and responsibilities for water. Presenters offered both historical and present water knowledge.

This was an interactive and cross-disciplinary learning opportunity for people who are working to protect water by deepening their understanding between Indigenous People and the land they have most intimately come to know.

Traditional Ecological Knowledge integration into FIMP

Living Lakes Canada is working to improve partnerships with Indigenous People by braiding Traditional Knowledge and Values into the FIMP assessment protocol and Foreshore Development Guidelines (FDG). Through methods familiarization, engagement, and data management communication with Indigenous People, a FIMP Indigenous Knowledge and Values Framework has been created in partnership with the University of British Columbia Sustainability Scholars as a preliminary template for interweaving Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) into the newly updated Federal protocol for FIMP methodology

Living Lakes Canada staff will continue to work with the Upper Nicola Band (UNB) and Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) to critique and identify additional pathways that interweave community-supported TEK and values.

First Nations engagement on Columbia Basin Water Hub

Living Lakes Canada has finalized an agreement with the Shuswap Band to create a decolonized version of a traditional Data Sharing Agreement for the Columbia Basin Water Hub that incorporates both sensitive and public data. Our Applied Reconciliation Coordinator has been advising the Water Hub team to ensure that the database is prepared to offer storage for Indigenous communities water data


The Living Lakes Canada Columbia Basin Groundwater Monitoring Program has created meaningful, functional relationships with Indigenous communities for groundwater monitoring. To date, the program has helped establish groundwater observation wells in the communities of ʔaq'am and Yaq̓it ʔa·knuqⱡi and works with these communities to track groundwater levels over time. The program incorporates the principles of OCAPⓇ (ownership, control, access and possession of data). If communities wish to share their data publicly it can be shared on the BC Real-time Water Data Tool and the Living Lakes Canada Columbia Basin Water Hub, where data from other observation wells in the Program are shared. The Groundwater Monitoring Program would like to offer services as an act of Reconciliation with the land and build their outreach and engagement to amplify Indigenous sovereignty over their groundwater resources.


Living Lakes Canada is partnering with Indigenous communities across British Columbia and Canada to interweave Indigenous knowledge and traditional Western science using the standardized Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) protocol and language for biodiversity and water health assessments.

Living Lakes Canada developed the Cultural Connections Pilot Project in collaboration with the Ktunaxa Nation Council to explore water themes using traditional language. In this pilot project, the CABIN methods were used as the foundation for this experiential learning and knowledge exchange.


The signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) are the first step in building partnerships that can help us identify our joint priorities, learn and work together.


To learn more contact Executive Director Kat Hartwig at

See Kat's profile.

Applied Reconciliation: Indigenous Partnership Building

Status - Active


Water Bodies
GroundwaterLakesRivers, Creeks and StreamsSnowStormwater
British ColumbiaColumbia BasinNational
AcademiaCommunity groupsFirst NationsGovernment – FederalGovernment – ProvincialMunicipalityNGOsRegional District
Types of Work
AssessmentCitizen ScienceCommunity Based MonitoringDataMonitoringProtocol DevelopmentRestoration

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Funders & Contributors

Watersheds BC Stronger BC
Real Estate Foundation