Indigenous peoples and forests in North America have long been intertwined. Aboriginal and tribal communities have served as forest stewards for centuries. These communities have relied on forests for material, cultural and spiritual necessities. Examples include using plants for food and medicine and wood for shelter, boats, tools, baskets and ceremonial masks.
- Protection of natural water bodies, including rivers and lakes, that indigenous communities rely on
- Conservation of sites that have ecological, historical and cultural significance
- Support for forestry research that integrates cultural ideals and objectives
- Training for forestry workers in the latest best practices for sustainability
- Opportunities to provide input about forest management plans for public lands
- Muckleshoot Indian Tribe - Third Lake Education Facility, Washington State—creating an interpretive forest trail to promote responsible forestry based on traditional values, connecting youth to their land and culture
- San Carlos Apache Forest Resources Program, Arizona—facilitating the sharing of traditional environmental knowledge from tribal elders to tribal youth, covering topics including wildlife, climate, geography and soil conservation
- Laval University Faculty of Forestry, Geography and Geomatics, Quebec—bringing aboriginal communities and forest companies together to expand employment opportunities
- Heiltsuk First Nation Culturally Modified Tree Database and Management System, British Columbia—developing a database design to record, track and manage culturally modified trees throughout the tribal territory
SFI partners with indigenous peoples nationally and internationally through organizations such as the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the Habitat for Humanity Canada’s Indigenous Housing Program. To date, SFI has helped build 119 homes including several for indigenous families. Most recently, SFI helped build a Habitat home for a local indigenous family in Winnipeg, Manitoba.To find out more about sustainable forestry, the important contributions of indigenous peoples and the collaboration between their communities and SFI, visit sfiprogram.org.