A recently established conservancy in a remote region of northwestern B.C. now has an Indigenous name rooted in Tahltan Nation heritage, tradition, culture and history.
Mount Edziza Conservancy is renamed Tenh Dẕetle Conservancy (Ten-thet-luh), which translates to Ice Mountain. Ice Mountain or Ice Mountain Lands was the name historically used for the land the conservancy is on because of its cover of glacial ice. The new name was provided from the collective input of Elders, language keepers and knowledge holders from the three main Tahltan communities of Dease Lake, Iskut and Telegraph Creek.
“The Tenh Dẕetle Conservancy renaming not only better reflects our heritage, but it is yet another example of the Tahltan Nation asserting our rights and title, the Tahltan Nation establishing greater self-determination and the Tahltan Nation leading the way in the new world of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act in which we are now living,” said Chad Norman Day, president, Tahltan Central Government. “This new conservancy does not happen without the Tahltan Central Government working alongside Skeena Resources, the Province, BC Parks Foundation and the Nature Conservancy of Canada. On behalf of the Tahltan Nation, thank you.”
Established in March 2021, the 3,526-hectare conservancy protects a variety of wildlife, such as grizzly bears, moose, caribou and mountain goats, along with a region of territory that is culturally significant to the Tahltan Nation. The obsidian from this portion of territory provided weapons, tools and trading goods that ensured the Tahltan people could thrive for thousands of years. Obsidian quarries have been found in several areas around Mount Edziza with 112 sites documented in the adjacent Mount Edziza Provincial Park.
“The renaming of Mount Edziza Conservancy to the Tenh Dẕetle Conservancy is another step forward on the path of reconciliation and enables all of us to understand more about Tahltan culture, history and values,” said George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “Through collaboration and partnership, we are working together to protect and promote Indigenous knowledge, history and culture as we build a better British Columbia for everybody.”
To create the new conservancy, the Tahltan Central Government, the Province, Skeena Resources Limited, the Nature Conservancy of Canada and the BC Parks Foundation came together in a unique partnership. The establishment of the conservancy was in response to Tahltan concerns about balancing mineral development with conservation interests.
An agreement was reached by the parties, enabling the return of mineral claims, striking a balance between preserving important land and enabling the Tahltan to benefit from responsible development in their territory. The Skeena partnership is another step by the Tahltan Nation in becoming meaningful equity partners in the mineral exploration industry.
“It’s crucial that we continue to work in partnership with Indigenous communities here in the northwest and across B.C. We will continue to promote Indigenous history, knowledge and culture,” said Nathan Cullen, MLA for Stikine. “I’m excited that we’re taking another important step in our path towards reconciliation in partnership with the Tahltan Nation by renaming the Mount Edziza Conservancy to Tenh Dẕetle Conservancy.”
The Province and the Tahltan Central Government have been working together to advance their shared interests in building an enduring, resilient government-to-government relationship in respect of land and resource use, and community, social and economic development within Tahltan territory. The conservancy was the first step in the multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative (TSI). The goal of the TSI is to bring greater self-determination to the Tahltan Nation and support stewardship on Tahltan territory.
- Conservancies are established to recognize the importance of an area to First Nations for social, ceremonial and cultural use. They also enable the continuation of traditional Indigenous uses and provide flexibility to accommodate low-impact, compatible economic activities.
- There are 157 conservancies in B.C. ranging in size from 11 to 322,020 hectares.
- The first conservancies were designated in 2006 following government-to-government negotiations with First Nations on land-use plans for the central and north coast.
- Mount Edziza is a conical volcano with an elevation of 2,787 metres. The eruption that built the mountain and its central cone began approximately four million years ago.
For more information about the Tahltan Nation, visit: www.tahltan.org
For more information about BC Parks, visit: www.bcparks.ca