The Certificate in First Nation Applied Lands Management (CFNALM)

The Tulo Centre and Thompson Rivers University (TRU) have developed an accredited certificate program in First Nation applied lands management. 

The Certificate in Applied Lands Management creates a practical skillset in surveying, mapping, GIS, planning and parcel/boundary principles. The focus of this program is on applied land management - surveying, mapping, boundary principles and land use planning, and culminate in a project that applies the skills learned to an existing issue in each student`s community.

The program will be of interest to people in First Nation lands management and development roles; those doing business with First Nations; and local, provincial or federal government employees involved with First Nation lands management systems.

All courses will be tailored to the environments of the First Nation communities of the students. Much of this will involve an open dialogue between students and instructors on what planning, mapping and data capture/surveying methods would most effectively work in their home communities.


The Courses

Data Capture I - APNR 1010

During this course students are introduced to observational methods for data capture using surveying equipment. Data capture fundamentals remain regardless of the rapid technological advances in data capturing equipment, acquisition and processing procedures. Focus is therefore placed on basic data capture concepts, basic data capture measurements, field and office work, data capture instruments and modern data capture as they pertain to Indigenous communities on-Reserve.

Digital Mapping I - APNR 1020

This course offers an introduction to managing and processing geographic information in a digital world with a focus on Indigenous communities (i.e. Reserves). Emphasis will be placed on the nature of geographic information in a digital environment, types of spatial data, coordinate systems, datums, map projections, and performing basic functions in a Geographic Information System (GIS).

Land use planning I - APNR 1030

This course offers an introduction to assessing environmental systems on the land, and identifying potential effects of human activities and developments on environmental media (air, water, soil, groundwater, vegetation and wildlife habitat), with a focus on Indigenous communities. Emphasis will be placed on sensitivities and potential impacts on soils, surface water, groundwater, vegetation communities and wildlife habitats.

Land tenure - APNR 1040

This course introduces the student to the fascinating melange of land tenure systems across Indigenous lands in general, and First Nation Reserves in particular. Emphasis is placed on the legislation that underpins such regimes (and the accompanying parcel-based property rights systems); on establishing and re-establishing parcels pursuant to such regimes; on the links between easily-used rights and socio-economic development; and on how such rights are negotiated, registered and searched. 

Data Capture II - APNR 1060

This course provides an introduction to data capture as it relates to legal and non-legal surveys (records, services & products) with an emphasis on Indigenous communities by building on the knowledge and skill acquired during the Data Capture I course.  Some emphasis will also be placed on more modern technologies like Global Satellite Navigation Systems (GNSS).

digital Mapping II - APNR 1070

This course builds on GIS/Mapping I by expanding on spatial data use in a GIS, and culminates in building a custom community map of the students’ own community. Emphasis will be placed on attribute data, creating your own spatial data, aerial imagery, and geographic analysis using Indigenous examples. This course, like GIS/Mapping I, will be comprised of lectures and labs and an online discussion board. All topics will include practical exercises of the above mentioned subject areas.

Land use planning II - APNR 1080

This course complements Land Use Planning I – Environmental assessment. Planning I focused on the bio-physical aspects of the Reserve land base (i.e. what is the natural environment); Planning II focuses on the socio-cultural aspects of the Reserve land base (i.e. who can do what where). Emphasis is placed on community aspirations and consultation; on linking human activities with appropriate land parcels; on the nexus between land use planning and socio-economic development; and on the benefits of coordinating planning with surrounding/abutting communities.

Independent Research Project - APNR 1090

Independent research on a land management issue in the student`s community to which the range of skills acquired are applied. Such application will result in a methodology for addressing the issue; a series of land use, parcel, boundary and topographic plans; a written report setting out the findings and the implications; and two presentations – one to Chief and Council and one to the class.

Benefits of the Program

The specific objectives of the proposed Certificate are to build capacity in surveying, mapping and planning in First Nation communities. That capacity will allow graduates to:

  • Provide essential geospatial support to land managers (or staff who work with land managers);

  • Support professional practitioners in First Nation communities, in institutions such as Tribal Councils or in neighboring communities that includes planners, engineers. environmental professionals, land surveyors/mappers and others to deliver services such as topographic surveys, staking, fencing, housing, grading;

  • Collect spatial data for mapping, land use planning, flooding/disaster management, emergency vehicle routing and spatial infrastructure inventories. These skills allow geospatial data to positively influence decision-making;

  • Understand, support and advocate for the use of geospatial tools in the community;

  • Provide a central resource for lands, housing, infrastructure, environment (and others) within a First Nation community;

  • Work as a survey technician under the direction of a professional land surveyor on legal surveys in the community or on provincial lands.