Newsletter Stories

Tuesday, 16 May 2023
Upholding Indigenous Rights in Ontario

Each spring in the boreal forests of Chapleau, Ontario, not far from the coast of Lake Superior, local Indigenous youth set out to tap birch trees for syrup. In June, after the fireflies come out, they return to harvest materials for birchbark canoes and baskets.

These budding stewards of the forest are members of a youth empowerment program run by Wahkohtowin Development – an Indigenous-led social enterprise rooted in sustainable forestry that serves and supports three local First Nations owners: Brunswick House, Chapleau Cree, and Missanabie Cree.

“Part of our cultural-spiritual connection is the belief that we do everything to make ourselves 100 per cent interactive with that ecosystem: just like the bird, the crawler, the walker, the swimmer, we all rely on each other,” says David Flood (Strong Wolf), an Ojibwe and general manager of Wahkohtowin. “Our spiritual religion exists in this landscape.”

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