Dr. Erin Sherry

Senior Resource Officer-Provincial Initiatives, First Nations Initiatives Division

Associate Partner, Improved Partnerships Stream

Phone: 250.356.7278

Email: Erin.Sherry@gov.bc.ca

Location: Integrated Land Management Bureau, Room 206, 2nd Floor, 780 Blanshard Street, Victoria, BC V8W 2H1


After undertaking an undergraduate degree in honours biology from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario between 1991 and 1995, I travelled to England where I commenced a Master's degree in Conservation Biology at the Durrell Institute for Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, Canterbury. My thesis focused on development of a non-invasive DNA-based mark-recapture tool to estimate the size, dynamics, and health of grizzly bear populations in the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies, including Banff National Park and Kananaskis.

In 1997 I started a doctoral program at UNBC in Natural Resources and Environmental Studies. This degree took me on a personal and intellectual learning journey. For four years, I worked with the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN) in the north Yukon. In partnership with the community of Old Crow, I completed a TEK and land use project that resulted in the publication of a book called The Land Still Speaks. During this time, I benefited greatly from the generosity, hospitality, wisdom, and teachings of community Elders and traditional land users.

In light of their land claim and self-government agreement, VGFN initiated numerous co-management arrangements involving fish, wildlife, water, parks, heritage sites, and ecological reserves. Questions about the viability and effectiveness of these regimes led to my dissertation research concentrated on exploring the interactions and co-operative work of Vuntut Gwitchin, territorial, and federal government resource managers. This project developed and tested a method for First Nation people and government managers to explore the characteristics of effective co-management and to identify its essential elements for the north Yukon. During my doctoral studies, I was also fortunate to participate in research with Tl'azt'en Nation and the John Prince Research Forest that involved the development and testing of scenario planning tools to enhance community participation and the integration of traditional knowledge into forest planning.

I commenced a two year post-doctoral fellowship in the Ecosystem Science and Management Program at UNBC in 2001 working with three First Nation communities, including Tl'azt'en Nation, T'exelc or Williams Lake Band, and Skw'lax or Little Shuswap Band, and 30 community and technical reviewers from throughout British Columbia. The project focused on developing an information gathering and management framework, the Aboriginal Forest Planning Process (AFPP), for use by First Nation communities that would identify local forest-related knowledge and values, translate them into criteria and indicators of forest management, and incorporate them into analytical forest planning tools. The AFPP attempts to address issues of transparency, confidentiality, scale, empowerment, and First Nation control and ownership of TEK.

In September 2003, I became Manager of the Northern Aboriginal Research and Development Alliance (NARDA), an initiative of the Northern Land Use Institute (NLUI). Two inaugural projects were: 1) Including Aboriginal Values in Resource Management Through Innovative Communication - a partnership with the Halfway River First Nation (HRFN) concerning identification, communication, and inclusion of traditional knowledge in resource planning, and the incorporation of an Aboriginal worldview into mapping and GIS and 2) Criteria and Indicators of Joint Forest Management - a joint project with the John Prince Research Forest and Tl'azt'en Nation to develop an adaptable framework of criteria and indicators for directing successful forest management partnerships between First Nations and other stakeholders. As a major component of my NARDA responsibilities, I served as the Senior CURA Research Co-ordinator and as a leader on the Improved Partnerships stream along with my colleagues Sue Grainger and Beverly Leon.

Currently, I work as a Regional Project Officer for the Integrated Land Management Bureau, BC Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. In this position I support the initiatives of the Northern Interior Region Inter-Agency Management Committee (IAMC), which is the regional forum for communication and collaboration on issues and initiatives pertaining to sustainable use of Crown land and resources, coordination of First Nations initiatives, and resource information management and decision support. I continue my participation in CURA as an Associate Partner on the IP stream.

I am pleased to be part of a long-term, close collaboration aimed at linking academic research with community goals. The CURA is deepening knowledge sharing, equity, trust, and constructive engagement between Tl'azt'en Nation and UNBC, and is fostering social and institutional development. I am honoured to work with the CURA team, a group of visionary and dedicated people. I hope that we maintain our commitment to learning from each other, and that the results of this project will positively influence our communities and workplaces.