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Website launches for marine conservation project in James Bay

People are being asked to show their support to Indigenous leaders
2021-03-09 Marine website
Wildlands League has launched a website that provides more information about the Mushkegowuk Marine Project.

Wildlands League has launched a website that provides more information about the Mushkegowuk Marine Project.

Last October, Mushkegowuk chiefs approved a motion to have nation-to-nation talks with the federal government about establishing a National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) to protect the marine ecosystem in western James Bay and southern Hudson Bay.

The website shows infographics, information about establishing the NMCA and a promotional video featuring Adrian Sutherland’s James Bay track.

Instead of sending letters of support to the province or the federal government, project leaders are encouraging people to show their support directly to Mushegowuk Council chiefs. People can use a draft available on the website or email their own customized letter.

Letters will be sent to Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon, Deputy Grand Chief Rebecca Friday, marine manager Lawrence Martin and director of lands and resources Vern Cheechoo.

Anna Baggio, the conservation director at Wildlands League, said it’s important for Canadians to know about these initiatives even if people don’t live in the area.

“This is just a way for those Canadians who live far away to connect with the Indigenous leaders and let them know they find this initiative inspiring,” she said.

“It’s also a way for Indigenous leaders to connect back with Canadians because they live far away from some of the major population centres and they might know there are a lot of people out there who care about the ocean and about reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.”

As of March 6, about 200 letters of support have been received, Baggio said. One of such letters was sent by a New-York based National Audubon Society, a non-profit environmental organization.

“We urge the Canadian federal government to continue nation-to-nation talks with the Mushkegowuk Council Chiefs and staff on this globally important proposal and hope it quickly leads to the next step: a Memorandum of Understanding respecting the feasibility of establishing a National Marine Conservation Area in western James and southwestern Hudson Bay,” the letter reads.

Mushkegowuk Chiefs are still in the process of signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Parks Canada, Baggio said.

According to project leaders, the unique James Bay seascape is home to polar bears, woodland caribou, belugas, walruses and over 170 species of geese, ducks and shorebirds. The bay's warm, shallow and low in salinity waters provide the right conditions to support various forms of marine life, according to the website.

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva

About the Author: Dariya Baiguzhiyeva

Dariya Baiguzhiyeva is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering diversity issues for TimminsToday. The LJI is funded by the Government of Canada
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