Whitefeather Forest Initiative

A Cultural Landscape

One of our Elders, Charlie Peters, has taught us that you cannot go anywhere in the Whitefeather Forest without finding our presence there. His teaching is that we are reflected in the land and the land is reflected in us.

We refer to our ancestral lands as Ahneesheenahbay ohtahkeem with the understanding that the landscape has been physically modified and given cultural meaning by Meekahncheekahmeeng paymahteeseewahch.
[Keeping the Land, p. 24]

The Whitefeather Forest is an Indigenous Cultural Landscape of Pikangikum people. Since time immemorial, we have maintained the biological diversity of the landscape. In many cases we have even nurtured greater abundance and diversity on this land. Our people have achieved this through customary indigenous resource stewardship practices and management techniques supported by a rich Indigenous Knowledge tradition.

From its vast tracts of jack pine to wild rice (Manomin) fields planted by Pikangikum people, to rich muskrat marshes that were historically burned to increase food for these fur-bearing animals as well as the ducks and other animals that live there, the Whitefeather Forest cultural landscape is of international ecological significance.

The ecological richness of the Whitefeather Forest landscape is complemented by a cultural heritage legacy that includes features such as pictographs, campgrounds, portages, and canoe channels. These enhance the numerous pristine waterways that flow through the forest.

It is the intention of Pikangikum First Nation in the Whitefeather Forest Initiative to provide economic opportunities for our members while protecting the rich ecological and cultural heritage of our ancestral forests.

For us, land and people are inseparable. Our Ahneesheenahbay ohtahkeen is not merely a landscape modified by human activity but a way of relating to the land, a way of being (on the land).
[Keeping the Land, p. 24]


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The Whitefeather Forest lies within ancestral lands of the people of Pikangikum First Nation in Northwestern Ontario, Canada.

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Keeping the Land
A Land Use Strategy for the Whitefeather... Read More »

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