Protecting Canada's water. Empowering Canada's North.

Celebrating UNESCO's Newest World Heritage Site

August 23, 2016

Congratulations to Deline and everyone who worked so hard to establish the Tsá Tué International Biosphere Reserve.

Great Bear Lake is the largest lake entirely in Canada, the last pristine Arctic lake, an important part of culture for the Dene people of Deline, and is now part of the largest biosphere reserve in North America.  The Tsá Tué International Biosphere Reserve, which encompasses Great Bear Lake and part of its watershed, received its formal ratification in March 2016, with the Deline community celebration held in August 2016.  

The Gordon Foundation’s President & CEO Sherry Campbell was there to participate and celebrate in this important day with the community, Elders, government officials and other non-profit organizations. “I was moved by the deep connection that the Dene people, and especially the Elders, have to the land.  Their commitment to stewardship and their passion for engaging and teaching the next generation was inspiring.” The Foundation supports the Biosphere Reserve both through a small financial contribution and through the recognition of this momentous occasion for the Dene people in the Northwest Territories.

The Tsá Tué International Biosphere Reserve is the first UNESCO World Heritage site that is completely run by Indigenous Peoples as well as being the first north of 60 degrees in Canada. The site itself will encompass nine million hectares and many species of boreal and Arctic flora and fauna, some of which are at risk or endangered.  Furthermore, the Tsá Tué International Biosphere Reserve is the only biosphere in the world that encompasses Taiga Plains, Taiga Shield, and Southern Arctic ecozones.  Therefore the creation of this biosphere ensures that this ecologically and culturally important region is indeed protected for generations to come.

Topic Area(s): North