Gesturing Toward Co-Visioning

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Mine reclamation and closure in the traditional territories of Indigenous rights holders in Alberta, Canada, raises issues of environmental, social, and cultural significance. We highlight insights developed collaboratively with members of a First Nation about their lived experience with the persistence of oil sands mine activities and reclaimed lands, and apply a participatory and inclusive planning approach with the potential to empower host communities with an equitable role in the planning and decision-making for sustainable socioeconomic, cultural, and environmental post-closure outcomes. Two different cultural activities were evaluated for their effectiveness in empowering intercultural dialogue and guiding creation of a shared post-closure vision between a First Nation and an oil sands company. We share perspectives, barriers, and opportunities for intercultural understanding and participation in mine reclamation and closure decision-making to ameliorate cultural land use impacts. We demonstrate that application of inclusive cultural practices and protocols in mine reclamation and closure planning empowered intercultural dialogue; enhanced understanding across cultural paradigms; supported shared project decision-making; produced moments of overlapping reclamation stories; and resulted in a parallel project vision for guiding cultural and landscape reclamation.