Investing in Indigenous-Led Forest Economy on Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory

May 13, 2021

By: The Working Forest Staff

Canada’s forest sector is an important source of employment for many Indigenous communities. The Government of Canada is investing in projects to equip them with tools to build greener businesses and promote economic opportunity in the forest sector and within their communities.

The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr., Minister of Natural Resources, has announced $155,280 in funding to Wiikwemkoong Unceded Indian Reserve to expand its Forest Resource Inventory business, which will help enhance its ability to bid on forest industry and government procurement contracts. This initiative will also provide more employment opportunities in their community.

Funding from Natural Resources Canada is provided through the Indigenous Forestry Initiative (IFI) program, which supports Indigenous-led economic development opportunities in Canada’s forest sector. By investing in Indigenous participation in the forest sector, we can advance Indigenous self-determination, close socio-economic gaps, and provide greener solutions that tackle climate change and transition toward a low-carbon economy. 

This investment will create employment, increased knowledge, and economic opportunities for Indigenous participation in the forest sector on their traditional lands. We recognize the value, both economically and spiritually, that the forest sector brings to these communities, and we’re working toward building a stronger Indigenous forest sector.

“Indigenous Peoples are taking economic development into their own hands and succeeding. The Indigenous Forestry Initiative supports Indigenous forestry workers and businesses with new opportunities to expand operations and grow while bringing local benefits to their communities,” says  The Honourable Seamus O’Regan Jr. Minister of Natural Resources.

“With the support of NRCan’s Indigenous Forestry Initiative, the Wiikwemkoong Dept. of Lands & Natural Resources’ Forest Resource Inventory Program looks forward to enhancing its business plan and identifying economic opportunities by incorporating new Drone and LiDAR technology. This will enable the program to remain competitive in the forest resource inventory sector while providing detailed and accurate data to allow its clients to manage annual harvests and future silvicultural applications,” said John Manitowabi Director, Lands & Natural Resources
Wiikwemkoong Department of Lands and Natural Resources.

Quick facts

  • Natural Resources Canada is contributing $13 million over three years (2020–2023) to support Indigenous forestry projects across Canada. To date, the IFI has committed approximately $6.8 million to projects, with approximately $6.2 million available for 2021–2023.

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