Indigenous Knowledge Circle (IKC) of the NBCKC

(Version française disponible ici)

Established in 2018, the Indigenous Knowledge Circle (IKC) is a sister group of the National Boreal Caribou Knowledge Consortium (NBCKC). The mandate of the IKC is to advocate for and provide the NBCKC with guidance and feedback on their relationship with Indigenous peoples and Indigenous Knowledge Systems. 

Our Goal  

IKC logo

While the focus of this Indigenous Knowledge Circle is on Boreal Caribou, this group convenes in solidarity with other stewarding nations focused or working with other caribou herds.

Our ultimate goal (vision) is for First Nations, Métis and Inuit to have relationships with caribou for harvesting, sharing, social and ceremonial purposes, to restore balance to the people and caribou today and into the future.

More specifically, we work towards:

  1. Improved understanding and respect for Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous Knowledge Systems about caribou in order to foster collaboration between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, governments, and organizations and to influence cooperative relationships and decision making about the management of caribou.
  2. Ensuring that western science and IK equally inform all decisions regarding caribou.
  3. More holistic community involvement for caribou research, planning, recovery, and management that reflects a broader understanding of ecosystem wellness reflected in community.
What We Do

We meet every second month to gather and share information, provide input to NBCKC projects, and advance our own projects. Our work focuses on:

  1. Gathering and sharing information, experiences, and teachings from stories with NBCKC, and IKC members about:
    • ​​​Indigenous-led work towards caribou recovery - what’s working and not working
    • working collaboratively and respectfully with Indigenous peoples on research, monitoring, planning and management

    • the cultural importance and value of Indigenous Knowledge, and its appropriate inclusion alongside scientific information in decision-making

  2. Connecting and supporting Indigenous leaders working towards caribou recovery

  3. Providing guidance and feedback to the NBCKC on the recognition and the appropriate use of  Indigenous Knowledge Systems alongside Western Science as the foundation of caribou conservation and recovery.

We recently launched Beyond Conservation: A Toolkit for Respectful Collaboration with Indigenous Peoples. It is the result of more than two years of effort by the IKC and is quickly becoming the go-to place to find guidance and resources for collaborating with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit partners on conservation and stewardship. The toolkit contains guiding principles, hundreds of tools and resources, and tips and advice to help non-Indigenous people repair relationships, open doors, build trust, and increase capacity with their Indigenous partners.

Beyond Conservation toolkit strip
IKC Members  

The IKC's membership includes representation from ~40  Inuit, First Nations, and Métis organizations, communities, regional governments, and co-management boards who are actively involved in the conservation, recovery, and management of caribou. Many IKC members are also members of the NBCKC along with government scientists, academic researchers, industry experts, and representatives from environmental organizations. Both the IKC and the NBCKC are supported by a central secretariat within Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). The IKC is co-facilitated by Amanda Sheedy, a private consultant, and Kristin Clark with the NBCKC Secretariat.

We welcome any new members who have relationships with caribou and would like to connect and collaborate with others working to protect caribou. We especially welcome the wisdom and experience of Elders and Knowledge Keepers. If you would like to join the IKC, attend our meetings and contribute to our projects, please contact Kristin Clark at the NBCKC secretariat at

Indigenous Knowledge Circle members
Current Member Organizations
Assembly of First Nations Inuvialuit Joint Secretariat (Game Council) Prince Albert Grand Council
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Inuvik Native Band Prince Albert Model Forest
Chiefs of Ontario K’áhsho Got'ı̨nę (Big Arrow Dene) Sahtu Renewable Resources Board
Chipewyan Prairie First Nation Kikino Metis Settlement Saulteau First Nation
Cold Lake First Nations Kineepik Métis Local #9 Seal River Watershed
Congress of Aboriginal Peoples Manitoba Métis Federation Shúhtaot’ı̨nę (Mountain Dene)
Cree First Nation of Waswanipi McLeod Lake Indian Band Tłı̨chǫ Government
Cree Nation Government (Grand Council of the Crees – Eeyou Ischee) Métis Nation of Alberta Torngat Wildlife, Plants & Fisheries Secretariat
Dene Tha' First Nation Métis Nation of Alberta Region 5 Treaty 6
Délı̨nę Got'ı̨nę (Délı̨nę Dene) Métis Nation of Saskatchewan Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta
Fort McKay First Nation Michipicoten First Nation Wek'eezhi Renewable Resources Board
Fort McKay Metis Nation Mikisew Cree First Nation West Moberly First Nations
Four Rivers Environmental Services Group Nunatsiavut Government Ya’thi Néné Land and Resources
Gwich'in Nation NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC)  
Gwich'in Renewable Resources Board Okanagan Indian Band  

The image below is a graphic recording of the IKC's discussion of the principles that should guide collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals and organizations working together to conserve caribou. This discussion was the basis for a draft of 10 principles for collaboration that will be central to the IKC's forthcoming toolkit: Beyond Conservation: A Toolkit for Achieving Reciprocity in Stewardship.

Graphic Recording - Principles for Collaboration Discussion

The image below is a graphic recording of the IKC's discussion of their Terms of Reference, and how the IKC works together with the NBCKC. This discussion informed the IKC's draft Terms of Reference.

Graphic Recording - IKC Terms of Reference Discussion