In Canada’s rapidly evolving environmental sector, the wealth of knowledge that Indigenous peoples have about the environment and sustainability is today the subject of increasing commercial and corporate interest.
This knowledge, as well as a deep cultural connection with the land, means that Indigenous peoples can benefit from the expansion of new jobs within the market. That is the objective of ECO Canada’s BEAHR training program, which helps Indigenous youth engage in a meaningful career in the environmental sector. BEAHR provides customizable environmental training programming for Indigenous communities that uniquely braids traditional ecological knowledge with Western science.
“For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples have had a sustainable way of living, understanding that they are an integral component of a healthy, functioning ecosystem,” said Dr. Yogendra Chaudhry, Vice President, Professional Services, ECO Canada, speaking about BEAHR.
“They have a depth of knowledge on all issues, from biodiversity and traditional medicine, to conservation. By using their knowledge, coupled with Western science, we can bring forward a strengthened approach to environmental practice, for enhanced harmony and sustainable growth.”
The BEAHR program helps First Nations, Inuit, and Métis communities across Canada, develop local environmental champions who can go on to pursue green careers. Each program is developed with input from traditional knowledge holders and elders, academic institutions, and local industry, and can be adapted to local community needs. Training is usually field-based, and students take away a renewed connection with their land, as well as technical skills suited for local environmental jobs or further education.
The focus of BEAHR courses is creating employability skills and meaningful employment. The program has evolved with the growing needs of the environmental sector, seeing a nearly 80 per cent employment rate for 3,700 graduates across Canada and in over 230 rural communities.
Both Indigenous knowledge and Western science have much to offer to the environmental sector. When integrated, they can generate holistic strategies that benefit the environmental sector and help define how we can all work harmoniously with the land.
For more information, visit www.eco.ca.
ECO Canada thanks Natural Resources Canada’s Science and Technology Internship Program for making this promotion possible.