In addition to heritage research, members of the Co-operative have been involved in research on a variety of topics including species at risk, traditional fire and forest management..
Sustainable Forest Licence Issued for the Pikangikum Whitefeather Forest Initiative
The issuance of the SFL represents the culmination of a comprehensive and intensive longterm planning effort to create new land-based economic opportunities for Pikangikum First Nation people. The Whitefeather Forest Initiative is a community economic renewal and resource stewardship initiative to support the rebuilding of economic independence for Pikangikum people while sustaining the Whitefeather Forest as an indigenous cultural landscape.“Our Elders are elated with the issuance of the SFL for the Whitefeather Forest,” noted Alex Peters, the President of the Whitefeather Forest Community Resource Management Authority. “At times we wondered how we would make it. But we have. It was the encouragement of the Elders and their vision of creating new economic opportunities for our youth and for future generations that kept us going.” Peters added: “The need to create new opportunities has only grown more urgent since we began. Now we can move forward into beginning our enterprise operations.”MORE...
Achievements of the Whitefeather Forest Initiative:
1 The first Community-based Land Use Plan in Far Northern Ontario-2006
2. The first acquisition of Environmental Assessment coverage for forestry in Far NorthForest in Ontario-2009
3. The first time that the role of Elders and Indigenousknowledge for a forest in Onta- rio was incorporated into the Forest
Management Planning Manual for Ontario - for the WhitefeatherForest - 2009
4 The submission by the Honourable Peter Kent of the Government of Canada to UNESCO of the nomination package for
World Heritage Site status of the Pima- chiowin Aki proposed World Heritage Site - a project initiated in 1999 by Pikangikum
Elders and the first World Heritage Site nomination in Canada led by a First Nation partnership - January 2012
5 The first approved Forest Management Plan for a forest in Far Northern Ontario - the Whitefeather Forest Initiative - where
the planning was also led by a First Nation enterprise - June 21.2012
6 The signing of the For Our Future Generations Dedicated Protected Areas PartnershipFramework for the WhitefeatherForest
- the first partnership of its type for Dedicated Protected Areas in Northern Ontario with a FirstNation - Pikangikum taking a
7. Sustainable Forest License issued on June 19th 2013
These achievements speak to the capacity in the Whitefeather Forest Initiative. They have been realized under the guidance of the Elders who have led the Whitefeather Forest Initiative. They also reflect the fact that, since its beginning, the Initiative has been developed separately from the day-to-day politics of the Pikangikum First Nation. It was the late Chief Louie Quill who strongly affirmed this approach very early on the development of the Whitefeather Forest Initiative when he said: Political leadership comes and goes, and the Whitefeather Forest Initiative requires continuity. The Pikangikum First Nation has established a business structure that is guided by Pikangikum Elders to achieve this continuity.The Whitefeather Forest Initiative is more than ready to go into enterprise. All planning, including environmental assessment coverage for forestry (e.g. forest access roads) is in place.
The EDAI board of directors opinion:
The Pikangikum First Nation still does not have a strong partnership with Canada’s Aboriginal Affairs and Northern
Development for realizing its business development goals. In view of Whitefeather’s proven achievements, this raises
questions as to the commitment and professionalism of Canada’s Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in getting a
First Nation on its way to create job perspectives for its young people. “Welfare only” keeps people locked in poverty and
despair. Pikangikum’s high suicide rate is the alarming result, but also an urgent call for action beyond endless bureaucracy.
Local Knowledge and Local Training for Local Forestry Jobs
“As we develop new opportunities in the Whitefeather Forest and develop and adopt new tools to support these opportunities, the effective training of our youth will become critical. We intend to ensure that our Ojibway training and teaching customs will be harmonized with Western methods to nurture the best possible learning contexts for Pikangikum youth.Our tradition of applied experiential learning will be harmonized with the contemporary use of the classroom. Our Elders and land experts will continue to teach young apprentices our knowledge of the land through going out on the land. This will include passing on our tradition of Keeping the Land. Through these efforts, our youth will continue to be able to have the opportunity to gain deep understandings of the land rooted in our Ojibway way of life.“Through out the years we’ve had maybe two or three of our youth go on to university. But elders wanted our youth want to stay in the community. We plan to bring the college to the community and Con College obliged.”http://www.whitefeatherforest.com/training/our-teaching-and-training-vision/http://www.trilliumfoundation.org/cms/en/pikangikum.aspx Watch the Whitefeather presentation
The Whitefeather Forest Research Cooperative agreement
The WFRC Agreement embodies the bringing together of different knowledge traditions to support research that in turn supports sustaining the land and the development of new knowledge for the benefit of humanity. Membership in the Whitefeather Forest Research Co-operative is based on agreement on protocols for research in the Whitefeather Forest.Signatories to the agreement who have recently undertaken or are actively involved in research in the Whitefeather Forest include:•The Natural Resources Institute, University of Manitoba (various projects)•Department of Anthropology, Lakehead University heritage research)