The Bras d'Or Lakes Collaborative Planning Initiative
I am the heart of Cape Breton. The People have come together to assist me in achieving better health. When the First People pray, they do so in a circle. Mother Earth is round, tree trunks are round. Each day has a cycle. There is a need for the cycle to continue and nurture those that are on my shores. By forming a circle, The People will be able to see the rise and fall of objects that are precious to us all – and great progress will be made in healing the harm that has been done. The circle is strong and the bonds even stronger. We have gathered in a circle;
come join me.
The Bras d’Or Lakes Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative (CEPI) arose in response to a request by the Cape Breton First Nations Chiefs in 2003 to develop an overall environmental management plan for the Bras d’Or lakes and watershed lands.
To date, two successful workshops have been held, with over 250 people attending, to engage government partners from all levels and the broader community of the Bras d’Or Lakes watershed in this process.
The Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources (UINR), an organization representing the five First Nations bands in Cape Breton on environmental and natural resource issues, has been endorsed to play a coordination role (Secretariat) for these efforts, with support provided by four levels of government – First Nations, Municipal, Provincial and Federal.
Currently the Bras d’Or Lakes CEPI has a functioning organizational model which includes a Steering Committee that meets quarterly (with federal, provincial, municipal, and Mi’kmaq governments, industry, academia, and NGO representation), a Management Committee which meets monthly, Task Teams (Management Plan, Funding, etc.), a Mi’kmaq Elder Advisor, an Elders Council, and a Senior Council that meets annually (federal Regional Directors General, provincial Deputy Ministers, municipal Mayors and Wardens, and First Nations Chiefs).
The Bras d’Or Lakes Collaborative Environmental Planning Initiative continues to address environmental management issues around the Bras d’Or Lakes, as commissioned at the 2003 and 2004 Bras d’Or Lakes CEPI workshops.