Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

The Maliseets and the Forest: a Mutual Respect

He relates that most Maliseet traditions as regards to the forest were transmitted by word of mouth. In his youth, he soon learned that the Maliseets respected the forest and only took what they needed, nothing more. With this in mind, he entered the labour market, initially at Edmundston Lumber, and later the Edmundston Fraser mill. As a labourer in lumber camps, he witnessed the rapid technological changes at the end of the 20th Century.

I started working in lumber camps for Fraser in 1967, when we still used horses. There were only three skidders at that time. In 1969, we had 20 skidders and only three or four camps still worked with horses. With a horse, we brought out three or four cords of wood a day but with a skidder, we brought out 30 to 35 cords with fewer workers. We worked in the Green River region, from spring to fall.9

He held different positions, and saw the forest management turnaround while becoming forest management Supervisor, developing natural resources management plans. NoŽl Francis Jr. also worked as Supervisor of Silviculture activities, planting and thinning. He emphasizes the fact that since then times have changed, “Technology changes and the market changes ... We do clear cutting, we replant... we are thinking about the short term without really knowing how it will affect the forest, the fauna, the flora in the long run."10