Everything that you see in me, it is the land that has moulded me. The fish have moulded me. The animals and everything that I have eaten from the land has moulded me, it has shaped me. I believe every Aboriginal person has been moulded in this way.
Elder Whitehead Moose (in translation)
Pikangikum people have cared for the Whitefeather Forest and all of the living ones in it, since time immemorial. We have been keepers of the land. We have developed a rich knowledge tradition, tools and practices to sustain and even enhance the abundance and diversity of the forest. In return, the forest has provided for our needs and made us who we are.
Our First Nation has been growing rapidly. We are coming back. Our economic circumstances have also changed. As a result we now have an urgent need to develop new economic opportunities for our people, especially our youth. We are looking to the Whitefeather Forest to provide these opportunities. Our Elders say that we can continue to make our livelihoods from our forest. They say that the Whitefeather Forest can continue to provide in the way it has in the past, and it can also provide new opportunities for us.
In order to keep our forest healthy and productive, we are developing new economic opportunities within our customary stewardship approach of Keeping the Land. It is our intention to maintain our customary relationship to the forest as we achieve economic prosperity. We will continue to cherish the forest and keep it beautiful. This is a sacred trust given to us by the Creator.
Since 1999 we have been working in partnership with the Government of Ontario to plan for new opportunities in the Whitefeather Forest. This partnership brings together our knowledge and stewardship tradition with that of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.
Since we started planning we have achieved the following with our partners:
- 2006 – Completed Keeping the Land, a Land Use Strategy for the Whitefeather Forest
- 2009 – Achieved Environmental Assessment coverage for forestry in the Whitefeather Forest
- 2010 – Completed revisions to Ontario’s Forest Management Planning Manual that include direction regarding the role of Pikangikum Elders and Indigenous Knowledge in planning for the Whitefeather Forest
- 2012 – Completed the inaugural Forest Management Plan for the Whitefeather Forest
- 2012 – Signed the For Our Future Generations Agreement with Ontario Parks
- 2013 – Acquired the Sustainable Forest Licence for the Whitefeather Forest
Currently we are working in partnership with Ontario to complete a Cheemuhnuhcheecheekuhtaykeehn (Dedicated Protected Areas) Management Plan.
- Our Stewardship Vision
- The Whitefeather Forest
- A Cultural Landscape
- Our Land Use Strategy
- Our Stewardship Planning Process
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