Whitefeather Forest Initiative

Our Teaching and Training Vision

The Indigenous Knowledge tradition of Pikangikum is a living tradition. It is supported by our Ojibway language which is still strong among our people. Our Elders want our youth to keep their ancestral language. The Elders are also keen to have our youth stay connected to the vital link between our language and our ancestral lands through the livelihood opportunities that are being created through the Whitefeather Forest Initiative.

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.

For example, all of our youth who train in forestry skills and management – from harvesting to renewal – will spend much time in the forest with our Elders and acknowledged forest experts. Their forest-based learning context will include learning our knowledge tradition using our language. This will be harmonized with teaching of the best of Western Knowledge.

Our goal is embodied in what Elder Norman Quill told a gathering of non-native academics and researchers at a conference in 2004. Norman said that our young people will continue to learn all of our customary knowledge tradition. At the same time, they will also learn everything that the scholars at the conference knew. In time, Pikangikum young people will become the teachers who will teach the following generations the knowledge of both of these traditions.


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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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