Indigenous Knowledge

As we continue to move through the site selection process and engage with communities, there is an opportunity to learn from local Indigenous Knowledge and apply that learning to planning and decision-making processes.


Indigenous Knowledge is a complex and sophisticated system of knowledge drawing on millennia of wisdom and experience that constantly grows and expands with the experience of each generation.

These knowledge systems recognize that people are part of and are one with Mother Earth, emphasizing the interrelationships among all components of the environment. Indigenous Knowledge includes important knowledge about the land and ecology, and about developing and maintaining effective and meaningful relationships between generations and within and between communities.

We will look to Indigenous communities and local Indigenous Knowledge holders in the areas surrounding interested communities to find ways to apply Indigenous Knowledge to the site selection process and protect it in its application. We will continue to engage Indigenous peoples throughout all aspects of Canada's plan. This collaboration will be informed by the Council of Elders and Youth, an advisory body to NWMO management.

Indigenous Knowledge Policy

NWMO staff Jessica Perritt with Elder Fred Kelly, Bob Watts, Elder Diane Longboat, and Monique Hobbs at workshop to bridge western science and Indigenous Knowledge.

In recognition of the important role of Indigenous Knowledge in implementing Canada's plan, we have created an Indigenous Knowledge Policy to help guide our work.

The Indigenous Knowledge Policy was created to ensure we are guided by a clear set of principles as we work with communities and Indigenous Knowledge holders.

Additional information:

Indigenous Knowledge guides NWMO decision-making

The NWMO has implemented an Indigenous Knowledge Policy to help guide the implementation of Canada’s plan for the long-term management of used nuclear fuel. The policy is the first of its kind in North America and was developed in collaboration with the members of the Council of Elders and Youth. The Council is an advisory body that provides advice to the NWMO about the application of Indigenous Knowledge to Canada's plan.

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Indigenous engagement