Canada and the Unama’ki Natural Resources Institute Partner to Expand and Preserve Mi’kmaq Environmental and Traditional Knowledge

ESKASONI, NS, June 29, 2022 /CNW/ – Today, Jaime Battiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament (Sydney—Victoria), on behalf of the Honorable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities; Chief Leroy DennyEskasoni First Nation, and Chief Paul TerryMembertou First Nation, announced $4$0.8 million in combined funding to construct a new building that will support learning, research and sharing of traditional Mi’kmaq knowledge.

The funding will be used to build a net-zero carbon facility that will house both the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR) and the Mi’kmaq Environmental Learning Center (MELC). The five Mi’kmaq communities of Unama’ki (Eskasoni, MembertouPotlotek, Wagmat cook, and We’koqma’q) will benefit from the facility, which will be able to host community gatherings and offer education and outreach programs. Additionally, there will be a library, laboratory and space for staff to conduct scientific and academic research. The facility will be important in encouraging the intergenerational transfer of traditional knowledge and advancing Indigenous-led conservation.

The UINR is a trusted voice for the five Mi’kmaq communities of Unama’ki, also known as Cape Breton, on natural resource issues. It conducts environmental monitoring, education and management, and overall better understanding and protection of the Unama’ki ecosystem. The MELC preserves the knowledge, traditions and values ​​of Mi’kmaq Elders regarding environmental sustainability. Providing these organizations with a modern and energy-efficient facility will help them fulfill their respective missions.

The government of Canada invest more $4.4 million for this project, while more $427,000 is provided by the UINR.


“The Unama’ki Natural Resources Institute and the Mi’kmaq Environmental Learning Center are essential to preserving the knowledge of Mi’kmaq elders. Conserving and promoting this knowledge is more important than ever, as environmental issues are at the forefront of minds in Cape Breton and across the country – and this new facility will help them take their work to the next level. I am so happy to see this dream project become a reality.”

Jaime BattisteParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament for Sydney—Victoria, on behalf of the Honorable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

“The Unama’ki Natural Resources Institute was built on the vision of the late Chief Charlie Joe Denis of Eskasoni. Charlie’s vision was for stewardship of the Mi’kmaq in Unama’ki. Eskasoni First Nation is pleased to be able to donate land for the new UINR facility. We are proud of UINR staff for their dedication to the important conservation and stewardship work they do on behalf of Unama’ki communities. A new building will allow UINR to continue this work and keep Charlie’s vision alive.”

Chief Leroy DennyEskasoni First Nation

“For the past 23 years, the Unama’ki Natural Resources Institute has been a leader in promoting Indigenous-led conservation and the revitalization of Mi’kmaq values. And the Mi’kmaq Environmental Learning Center has played a key role in sharing those values. with communities across Unama’ki and beyond. This new facility will reflect the values ​​of the past and demonstrates the success of UINR’s work in passing on these lessons to future generations.

Chief Paul TerryMembertou First Nation

“I am very grateful for the continued support given to UINR by our leaders and community members. Especially our elders who so generously share their knowledge and wisdom. To have a facility for them to gather that will reflect these teachings and these values ​​is an incredible feeling.”

Lisa Youngexecutive director of the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources

Fast facts

  • The government of from Canada funding comes from the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings (GICB) program.

  • Launched in April 2021the GICB is a $1.5 billion program that supports green and accessible renovations, repairs or upgrades to existing public community buildings and the construction of new publicly accessible community buildings that serve underserved and high-needs communities across Canada.

  • At least 10% of funding is allocated to projects serving First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, including Indigenous populations in urban centres.

  • This program will help the government of Canada meet its emissions reduction targets by 2030 and net zero targets by 2050.

  • Federal funding is conditional on meeting all environmental assessment requirements.

  • Provincial/territorial governments, municipal or regional governments, public sector bodies, non-profit and Indigenous organizations interested in the Green and Inclusive Community Buildings program are invited to apply on the Infrastructure site. Canada website.

  • Applicants with large renovation projects of existing community buildings or new community construction projects with total eligible costs ranging from $3 million at $25 million were accepted through a competitive admissions process that ended on July 6, 2021. A second admission is expected later in 2022, however, the date has yet to be determined. Details about the second promotion will be posted on the Infrastructure Canada – Green and Inclusive Community Buildings website as they become available.

  • Announced in December 2020, from Canada The Reinforced Climate Plan includes 64 new measures and $15 billion investment in a healthy environment and economy.

  • The funding announced today is supported by the Government of from Canada work under the Atlantic Growth Strategy to create well-paying middle class jobs, strengthen local economies and build inclusive communities.

Related links

Green and inclusive community buildings

Invest in Canada Plan the project map

Enhanced Climate Plan

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