Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

The Maliseets and the Forest: a Mutual Respect

He ends by saying that above all, we must respect the forest and that there are ways of living without wasting natural resources, that the “young generation will need to find ways to do so because the resources are being depleted."11

I remember towards the end of the 1960's we started making maple sugar. Later in 1986, we opened a maple sugar house to save the mountain and prevent the wood from being cut. We started by tapping 100 trees and went up to 500; we knew that the sugar trees were more profitable in the long term than cutting them down. And that way, we could preserve the trees.12

A second life for Native traditions

In the same line of thought, the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation developed an agroforestry project, in partnership with the Center for Excellence in Agricultural and Biotechnological Sciences. In 2007, the project started its third year. According to Natacha Sirois, a Center for Excellence in Agricultural and Biotechnological Sciences agroforestry teacher, the project has multiple objectives. The major ones include: developing initiatives giving added value to the forest using other methods than cutting wood, showing the benefits of agroforestry practices, reviving ancestral plants and their culture, building on permanence, developing other added value projects, economic development and above all, serving as an example of private woodlots appreciation to both Native and Non-Native groups.13