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First Nations Environmental Network (FNEN)

Abstract The First Nations Environmental Network (FNEN) is a Canadian organization composed of individuals, Indigenous Nations, and nonprofit groups working to protect the environment. FNEN seeks to balance mind, body, and spirit in defense of Mother Earth through education, activism, and spiritual practice. Drawing from First Nations teachings about respect and gratitude for Mother Earth and all Creation, FNEN has articulated a list of guiding principles that include the continuation of Mother Earth’s life-giving forces; the sacredness of all life; faith in the Creator; honesty, caring, sharing, and respect. Representing various First Nations in Canada, FNEN is a diverse network, held together by a shared commitment to the healing and defense of Mother Earth, Indigenous peoples, and all Creation. In addition to connecting grassroots indigenous groups in Canada, FNEN collaborates with the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) of the United States (US) to create a united “Voice for Mother Earth” throughout Turtle Island (North America). Based on traditional knowledge and teachings about Creation and the “Spirit that moves through all things,” FNEN works to ensure the well-being and continued existence of Mother Earth and All Our Relations by addressing such problems as pollution, deforestation, and species extinction. Since its founding, FNEN has supported numerous efforts of First Nations peoples across North America to protect their communities, traditional lands, sacred sites, and nonhuman relations from deforestation, dam construction, industrial pollution, nuclear waste dumping, and commercial development. It has issued resolutions supporting the protection of species, ecosystems, and Indigenous communities; organized conferences, gatherings, ceremonies, and public awareness events; and worked with a host of other groups and organizations on environmental and health issues.
Religion Indigenous Tradition
Geographic Location Canada
Duration of Project 1992–Present

Although FNEN was officially founded in 1992, its roots go back to 1986, when representatives of First Nations sought national recognition in the Canadian Environmental Network (CEN). Although its appeal was initially denied by CEN, the group continued to meet to address shared concerns about threats to the Earth, their own communities, and future generations. In 1995, FNEN was officially accepted as an affiliate of CEN. In 2002, after many difficult years of trying to bridge cultural differences and with consensus from its Steering Committee, FNEN resigned from the CEN stating the need to preserve its own First Nations principles and not be forced to assimilate non-Indigenous practices. Since its founding, FNEN has held annual “Voices for Mother Earth” gatherings, formed numerous alliances with other Indigenous and environmental groups, and worked on a variety of campaigns to protect the environment, Indigenous peoples, and endangered species. In addition to protecting sacred lands and territories of First Nations people, FNEN has worked against old-growth logging, dam construction, industrial pollution, nuclear waste dumping, strip mining, species extinction, and habitat encroachment.

Vision Statement “The First Nations Environmental Network is a circle of First Nations people committed to protecting, defending, and restoring the balance of all life by honoring traditional Indigenous values and the path of our ancestors. We encourage the work of protecting, defending, and healing Mother Earth. We desire and need to link grassroots Indigenous people nationally and internationally to support each other on environmental struggles and concerns. We are obligated to leave footprints for our children to follow by striving to live our life with traditional values.”
Partner Organizations Indigenous Environmental Network
Other First Nations Groups and Organizations across Canada and internationally
Long-Term Goals None Listed
Bibliography None Listed
Additional Research Resources None Listed
Contact Information First Nations Environmental Network
P.O. Box 394
Tofino, British Columbia
Canada V0R 2Z0
Ph:         250.726.5265
Fax:       250.725.2527
Email:    .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)