For too long many of us in conservation have failed in our responsibility to look squarely at historical inequities and frame our work in a way that recognizes these injustices.
As Heart of the Rockies Initiative works to ensure connected habitat and working lands for people and wildlife, we do so with an understanding that conservation is inextricably linked with justice and equity. In order to make a difference in the field of conservation, we must continually explore and address our own individual biases and improve organizational culture.
We also acknowledge that individual awareness and internal cultural change, alone, have a limited impact. We see a need to also take concrete actions to ensure our programs are truly inclusive and use our region-wide sphere of influence to make a positive difference for oppressed and marginalized groups in the conservation community.
Heart of the Rockies launched our pilot Equity Collective summer 2023. The purpose of this group is to engage in partnership with a small cohort of land trust members on restoring Indigenous rights and access to land. Additionally, this cohort will engage with several different, internal principles of Justice, Equity, and Inclusion Ultimately, we are working to produce templates or other tools Land Trust practitioners can use to advance just, equitable, and inclusive principles in private land conservation and in land trust organizations.
In collaboration with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks; Western Landowners Alliance; the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes; and 14 landowner led groups across Montana, we submitted a $5,000,000 America the Beautiful Challenge Pre Proposal to fund on-the-ground carnivore conflict prevention implementation; our Pre Proposal was successful and we submitted a full proposal at the end of July 2023.
From May 30 to June 2, 2023, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes and Heart of the Rockies Initiative, with support from AMB West and Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg Foundation, convened 29 individuals at West Creek Ranch in the Paradise Valley, Montana, to explore how some Tribes as well as certain land trusts in the region might collaborate to advance Indigenous rights and interests in private land conservation.
Increasingly, tribes are working to protect their access to culturally important lands by collaborating with Native and non- Native conservation movements. Get your copy here.
Written by Layla F Saad, this eye-opening book helps white people take action and dismantle the privilege within themselves so that you can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. Get your copy here.
White supremacy culture is reflected in the current realities of disproportionate and systemic harm and violence directed towards BIPOC people and communities in all aspects of our national life – health, education, employment, incarceration, policing, the law, the environment, immigration, agriculture, food, housing. Read more here.
We strive to go beyond old ways of talking about Indigenous people and to develop a platform where Indigenous communities can represent themselves and their histories on their own terms. In doing so, Native Land Digital creates spaces where non-Indigenous people can be invited and challenged to learn more about the lands they inhabit, the history of those lands, and how to actively be part of a better future going forward together. Learn more here.
We are currently finalizing a document that communicates a deliberate justice, equity, and inclusion (JEI) plan that supports our mission and addresses our organizational blindspots.