Traditional Use Studies (TUS)

We provide technical support in partnership with Indigenous groups to record traditional use, knowledge and oral histories through maps and atlas, geodatabases, archival studies, documents, videos and other documentation. This knowledge reflects both individual and collective relationships to the land and its resources, including an individual or group’s social, spiritual, cultural, economic and/or ecological knowledge and history. It is the story of life on the land that communicates the historic or current use and occupancy of a territory and the resources drawn from that territory. We have worked with communities to use this information in many ways, including:

• Developing consultation agreements
• Asserting title and rights
• Preserving knowledge
• Assisting with land use and resource management
• Informing claims and settlements
• Developing traditional knowledge curriculum for k-12

 Interested in training or capacity building? Contact us.

Our Approach

Driven by Community Values: Every community is different. We start by listening to community members to find out what is important. Then, we use the values that we identify through this process as a framework to prioritize actions that are appropriate, feasible, and broadly supported. 

Based on Local Knowledge: We work with local people who know their communities and regions and are well positioned to generate practical ideas that make the best use of local assets. We then tap into, organize, and evaluate this local knowledge, using methods and tools from structured decision making to focus investment and energy where it will have the strongest impact.

Expert Supported: We step in where expertise is needed by providing rigorous analysis, cutting-edge research, innovative ideas and over 20 years of experience in the field. We have found that top-down, expert-directed planning approaches work only in unique circumstances and typically do not produce the results communities and clients need for success.

Pragmatic and Effective: Great strategies are strategies that get implemented. We hate to see strategies that are nothing more than laundry lists gathering dust on a shelf. Our approach ensures that the people who will be implementing the plan are involved throughout its development, and that the plan lays out the implementation architecture (i.e., who will be doing what, when). We can also provide supplementary services during implementation, such as project management and coaching. We call this “surge capacity”.

Guidebooks, Toolkits and Publications

Traditional Land Use Training Guide 

The Métis Settlements of Alberta


Land Use Mapping and Interview Guide

Kwikwasut’inuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation
2007 Canadian Institute of Planners Award for Planning Excellence in Economic Development