A Living Document…..
The Mississippi River Watershed Plan Project provides an ideal opportunity for MVCA to work with Indigenous Communities and Individuals to enhance and strengthen a mutually respectful and reciprocal relationship. The project is also a welcome opportunity to learn from and with Indigenous Communities, to strengthen our connection to the land, and together to improve protection of natural features and functions of the watershed.
MVCA recognizes the interconnectedness and rich knowledge of Indigenous Peoples, and at the outset made a firm commitment to undertake meaningful engagement with Indigenous Communities in developing the Watershed Plan. Though not mandatory, early in the planning process MVCA hired Cambium Indigenous Professional Services (CIPS) to help prepare an Indigenous Engagement Plan (IEP). The Plan is designed to ensure that all First Nation Communities, leaders, and Indigenous Peoples/Groups with an interest in the watershed are given full opportunity to provide input and have their knowledge and ideas included in the Watershed Plan.
In 2019, MVCA's goal was to actively engage Indigenous Peoples at the early stages of the project, however circumstances surrounding the global pandemic prohibited engagement opportunities at that time. While a first draft of the Mississippi River Watershed Plan was approved by the MVCA Board of Directors in July 2021, MVCA is still committed to undertaking meaningful engagement and to have Indigenous input included in an updated version of the plan. The Watershed Plan is a living document and will be adjusted as needed to reflect the outcomes of this engagement.