Canadian Heritage

Historical Vignettes

The Maliseets and the Forest: a Mutual Respect

Richard Wallace, Economic Development Officer for the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, underlines the community's youth participation in this project, which offers them work experience, as well as a taste of nature. “We want to try and demonstrate that there is more money to be made with agroforestry practices than with clear cutting. We are also open to sharing the opportunities that agroforestry has to offer, and the lessons learned from our experiences.”14

Thus for almost three years, this project has produced a directory of the maple forest trees as well as the types of wild mushrooms, while establishing a maple forest subculture (including wild ginseng and ginger, as well as wild mushrooms on logs). It has also permitted to conduct research projects regarding the Aboriginal culture, and produced another directory of medicinal plants15 located on the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation territory.

This project is therefore a return to basics for the Madawaska Maliseet First Nation, as well as a viable economic approach to give back to the members of the whole community, young and old, Aboriginals and Non Aboriginals, while capitalizing on non-timber forest products.