Aboriginal Speakers' Series - Montreal
The Boreal Forest: Our Land, Our Stories, Our Responsibility.
If we learn to respect the sanctity of the land, we will be able to say proudly that we have not destroyed, but rather protected and loved the beautiful land that is our earth
Montreal Audience Treated to Boreal Music and Experiences
We thank our amazing speakers, Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come, Chief Paul Gull, and Stephen Kakfwi. CBI's Valérie Courtois was the charming and able host of our event.
Visit McGill University's School of Environment blog for a great recap of the night by Kaitlyn Shannon:
Coon Come, as well as Chief Paul Gull of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi, highlighted that, contrary to the popular stereotype, their people are not anti-development. Rather, they want to be included in development projects and have their traditional knowledge heard and taken into consideration. For Coon Come, this is a way that the protection of the land can be ensured; for Gull, the emphasis is on the livelihoods of his people. In Gull’s community, 60% of the population is under thirty, and the majority of these youth are unemployed. Without job prospects in their communities, many young people are forced to leave the area, coming to cities like Montreal. However, development companies, such as those involved in forestry or mining, can provide local employment to his people, especially as traditional livelihoods continue to be threatened by declining animal populations, logging, and an increase in non-native fishing and cabins in the area. The challenge for Gull is finding the balance between taking advantage of the economic opportunities provided by development companies and continuing to support his people’s traditional ways of life.
The Nation also has a recap of the night on their web site, Protecting the trees
A conference at McGill University focuses on conserving the boreal forest:
The main point that the speakers wanted to convey to the McGill students was this: environmental protection is only one part of preserving the boreal forests. The greater problem is finding a way to balance the use of the forests to make sure future generations can have a fair use of it as well. It’s all about sustainability. We must be able to sustain our communities using all the bounty that the forests have given us. All the while we must be giving back so as not to leave our mark on the land.
Thank you to Kathia Rock for the beautiful, soulful, boreal music!
We greatly appreciate the invaluable help by the Aboriginal Sustainability Project in hosting this event.
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