relationship statement

We are together on Indigenous land.

Indigenous rights and jurisdiction are recognized and affirmed by both the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Indigenous people hold responsibilities to water which were never ceded.

Since its formation in 2005, the Lake Winnipeg Foundation (LWF) has enjoyed access to – and influence on – the decision-making processes of colonial crown governments. In that time, we have noted the absence of Indigenous peoples around decision-making tables for Lake Winnipeg. We recognize that the ongoing exclusion of Indigenous peoples jeopardizes LWF’s vision of a clean and healthy Lake Winnipeg. Indigenous knowledge is essential to a well-rounded understanding of the lake and watershed, and must be part of evidence-based solutions.

Recognizing this absence of Indigenous voices, LWF supported Indigenous leaders and knowledge carriers in forming the Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective (LWIC). The collective envisions that Lake Winnipeg’s sacred waters are healthy, traditional livelihoods are restored and Indigenous perspectives are influential in leading the protection and sustainability of Lake Winnipeg as a source of life for all future generations.

Together, LWIC and LWF share a common goal of restoring the health of Lake Winnipeg. Our relationship is a reciprocal partnership. LWIC and LWF provide each other with mutual support across key operations and programs, including partnership development, policy expertise, learning opportunities and logistical support. This mutual support strengthens each organization.

The ongoing partnership between LWF and LWIC is unique and evolving over time. Currently, LWIC is not independently incorporated. LWF continues to support LWIC in accessing funding and donations – as such the LWF board of directors retains oversight of LWIC’s operations until such oversight can be transferred to an Indigenous governance body. Ultimately, both LWF and LWIC are committed to ensuring the collective is independently incorporated to represent water-rightsholders in a strengthened Lake Winnipeg governance system.

learn more

The Lake Winnipeg Indigenous Collective is a united group of First Nations people supporting each other in protecting Lake Winnipeg.

> visit the collective's website