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NAFA/SFM Network Workshop on “Strengthening Aboriginal Capacity in the Forest Sector”

by NationTalk on April 16, 2008819 Views

Vancouver, British Columbia
February 28–29, 2008

Introduction and Opening Remarks

FRANK BROWN opened the workshop with a prayer and a welcome from First Nations of British Columbia.


HARRY BOMBAY, Executive Director of the National Aboriginal Forestry Association (NAFA), said this workshop’s goal was to work towards strengthening capacity. “We have been stewards of the forest for centuries,” he said. In the contemporary sense of “capacity,” traditional knowledge must be used in a modern context to build sustainable First Nation communities across the country. To address this in terms of programming is difficult, since many important issues come from within the First Nations communities themselves. Bombay said he hoped the ideas from the workshop would speak to this.In looking at capacity in the national context, Bombay said British Columbia (BC) is the province to watch, since this issue is more visible there, and is the source of many innovative initiatives. BC provides the example to follow in creating a broad national framework, and in working out local and provincial partnerships.

DR. MARC STEVENSON gave a presentation on behalf of the Sustainable Forest Management Network (SFMN).

At first the Network did not have an Aboriginal focus, Dr. Stevenson said, but it shifted over time, and now their research program focuses on Aboriginal‑related forest issues.

The Aboriginal program of the SFMN has four research priorities:

· The accommodation of Aboriginal and treaty rights
· The incorporation of Aboriginal values, knowledge, and management systems into sustainable forest management
· Aboriginal engagement in sustainable forest management
· The development of criteria and indicators to assess performance in other areas

This third priority, said Dr. Stevenson, is the focus of his research partnership with Pamela Perreault. Although the SFMN has only one more year before they “fold their tents,” they intend to leave documents and reports as lasting legacies in each of those four research priorities. Dr. Stevenson added that the SFMN seeks input and direction on how best to proceed. “When we shut down,” he said, “we won’t just stop looking at this issue.”

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