WFI
Whitefeather Forest Initiative

Indigenous Knowledge Curriculum Project

Forest Tour July 2012, Standing left to right, Jimmy Keeper (head trapper and WFI Steering Group member), Elder Tom Quill Sr., Timmy K Strang (Community Facilitator), Murray Quill (student), Aaron Palmer (Instructor and WFI Forester). Kneeling left to right, students Robert King, Max King, and Darrell Keeper.

Forest Tour July 2012, Standing left to right, Jimmy Keeper (head trapper and WFI Steering Group member), Elder Tom Quill Sr., Timmy K Strang (Community Facilitator), Murray Quill (student), Aaron Palmer (Instructor and WFI Forester). Kneeling left to right, students Robert King, Max King, and Darrell Keeper.

Since its inception the Whitefeather Forest Initiative has stayed focused on a path towards economic renewal rooted in customary stewardship of the land. This approach is reflected in the precedent-setting Keeping the Land strategy (completed in 2006), the inaugural Forest Management Plan (approved in 2012), the Dedicated Protected Areas Management Plan (to be completed in 2014), and in revisions to Ontario’s Forest Management Planning Manual that now includes direction (Part F) regarding the role of Pikangikum Elders and Indigenous Knowledge in planning specific to the Whitefeather Forest.

All of these precedent-setting planning achievements lay the basis for the incorporation of Pikangikum customary Indigenous Knowledge and resource stewardship into economic developments in the Whitefeather Forest. At the same time, it was always understood that a way would have to be found to ensure that future generations involved in enterprise undertakings based on the Whitefeather Forest, understand and are able to implement the Indigenous Knowledge and customary stewardship approach of their Elders and other bush experts.

The delivery of the Forest Ecosystem Management diploma program in the Whitefeather Forest Training Initiative presented the first opportunity to both train the next generation of resource managers for the Whitefeather Forest Initiative and to ensure that they learned both the Western Science approach to resource management and the Pikangikum customary approach to resource management based on the Indigenous Knowledge of Pikangikum people.

Students Valerie King, and Max King

Students Valerie King, and Max King

A project was developed with Confederation College to enable the inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge in the Forest Ecosystem Management program based on the Generative Curriculum approach developed by Drs. Jessica Ball and Alan Pence of the University of Victoria in partnership with the Meadow Lake Tribal Council for training childcare workers. In 2009 the Ontario Trillium Foundation agreed to provide support for the project under its Future Fund program. Additional support was provided by Pikangikum First Nation, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, and Ontario Parks.

Implementation of the project began with delivery of the Forest Ecosystem Management program in Pikangikum in August 2011. It included involvement of Elders and other bush experts in the classroom, in forest seminars, and in the co-op placements of the students following classroom delivery.

For more information about this program see the attached Indigenous Knowledge Curriculum Project Report. For further information please [intlink id=”7″ type=”page”]contact Whitefeather Forest Community Resource Management Authority[/intlink].

The Whitefeather Forest Initiative, and in particular the Elders and bush experts of the Whitefeather Forest Steering Group would like to thank the following for their contribution to our project :

  • Pikangikum First Nation
  • Ontario Trillium Foundation
  • Confederation College
  • Dr. Jessica Ball
  • Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
  • Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs
  • Whitefeather Forest ASEP Corporation
  • Dr. Anita Olsen Harper
  • Johnston Research Inc.


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The Whitefeather Forest lies within ancestral lands of the people of [intlink id=”122″ type=”page”]Pikangikum First Nation[/intlink] in Northwestern Ontario, Canada.



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