A Living Cultural Landscape
As ancient stewards of Pimachiowin Aki UNESCO World Heritage site, Anishinaabeg have gained international recognition for the importance of their indissoluble relationship with the land.
Badge of Protection
The UNESCO designation is the world’s way of noting that these ancestral lands have outstanding universal value and should be preserved for the benefit of all humanity.
Among the 20 UNESCO World Heritage sites in Canada, Pimachiowin Aki is the only site in Manitoba and the only ‘mixed’ site, recognized for both its cultural and natural values, in Canada.
Catalyst for Change
Pimachiowin Aki is so unique that it inspired UNESCO to change the way it evaluates mixed World Heritage sites.
Pimachiowin Aki deepened UNESCO’s understanding of nature-culture connections in the World Heritage Convention. As a result, Advisory Bodies to the World Heritage Committee collaborate in the evaluation of mixed sites – sites with both cultural and natural heritage values.
Pimachiowin Aki is a positive example of Indigenous leadership in conserved areas, and of Canada’s leadership in reconciliation. This influenced World Heritage policies and procedures, particularly with regard to the evaluation of mixed (natural and cultural) site nominations, and the inclusion of Indigenous peoples’ rights in the World Heritage Convention.
Outstanding Universal Value
Pimachiowin Aki UNESCO World Heritage Site
What makes it so special?
1. Meets one or more criteria to demonstrate Outstanding Universal Value
Pimachiowin Aki meets three criteria:
iii. Is a unique or exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization that is living or has disappeared
Anishinaabeg care for the land today as they have for over 7,000 years, guided by the cultural tradition of Ji-ganawendamang Gidakiiminaan (Keeping the Land).
iv. Is associated with events, living traditions, ideas, beliefs, or artistic or literary works of outstanding universal significance
Anishinaabeg maintain the cultural tradition of Ji-ganawendamang Gidakiiminaan (Keeping the Land) through legends, stories, and song.
ix. Shows outstanding examples of on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of ecosystems and communities of plants and animals
Pimachiowin Aki’s boreal forest ecosystem is incredibly diverse — teeming with rivers, lakes, wetlands, plants and wildlife, including imperiled species like the Canadian warbler and woodland caribou. This exceptional ecosystem supports the natural flow of life, including wildfire, migration, spawning, predator-prey relationships, and sustainable fishing, hunting and trapping.
2. Meets conditions of authenticity and integrity
Pimachiowin Aki is home to an intact boreal forest and an ancient culture that thrives today.
3. Demonstrates adequate protection and management