A Manitoban First Nations woman, who spent many years working to protect the boreal forest in Manitoba is among the six winners from around the world to receive this year's prestigious International Goldman Environmental Prize, the largest prize of it's kind in the world.
Sophia Rabliauskas, working with her community, Poplar River First Nation, succeeded in securing interim protection for 800,000 hectares of undisturbed forest in 1999. The current regulation effectively protects these lands from industrial development. There is also a First Nation lead boreal forest World Heritage Site nomination, which includes these lands.
The traditional territory of the Poplar River First Nation - 1,200 members of the Ojibway people - is located on the eastern side of Lake Winnipeg in Manitoba, and forms a significant part of Canada's boreal forest. The First Nation completed its lands plan, which calls for permanent protection, in 2005. Manitoba has yet to move these lands from interim to permanent protection.
There have only been four other Canadian winners in the 18-year history of the award. They include Norma Kassi (2002); Bernard Martin (1999); Matthew Coon Come (1994), and Colleen McCrory (1992).
View the Poplar River First Nation website & Lands Plan
View the Manitoba Wildlands Brief on Poplar River First Nation (PDF)
View the April 22, 2007 Goldman Environmental Prize release regarding Manitoba (DOC)
View the April 22, 2007 Winnipeg Free Press: Slide show, article 1(DOC) & article 2(DOC)
View the April 22, 2007 CBC article
Sources: Goldman Foundation, Manitoba Wildlands, Poplar River First Nation