In all of our work, we take a stance of deep respect for American Indian Tribes, Alaska Natives, and First Nations communities. We believe a new model of development is possible only through respectful authentic engagement with the people who first inhabited the place we now call home.
Since our founding in 1991, Indigenous peoples from Alaska to California have always been involved with Ecotrust, as members of our board and staff and as partners to advance the environmental, cultural, economic, and social conditions of their communities. To this day, we continue to support First Peoples’ steadfast efforts to exercise their right of self-determination and protect their homelands and waters.
We share our knowledge in forests and ecosystems, fisheries and marine planning, salmon and watershed restoration, and food systems to restore and strengthen Native communities. And we provide our technical expertise in GIS analysis, mapping and cartography, economic impact assessments, software and tool development, and data collection and management to help Indigenous leaders make informed decisions.
We also support a growing network of Indigenous leaders, increase education opportunities for Native people through scholarships and fellowships, and provide a platform for Native people to share their stories and issues.
In this TEDx Portland Talk from 2011, Ecotrust founder Spencer Beebe describes the origin of Ecotrust, when he and others worked in partnership with the Haisla First Nation to protect nearly 800,000 acres of forestlands and watersheds on the central coast of BC. This place is now known as the Kitlope Heritage Conservancy, or in the words of the Haisla people, Huchsduwachsdu Nuyem Jees (the source of milky blue water). Watch on Vimeo.
Since 2001, we have honored 57 indigenous leaders. Learn more about the Ecotrust Indigenous Leadership Award.