It was a special day last Thursday for Miisun – Miitigoog Integrated Resource Management Co. and for Wabauskang First Nation.
A signing ceremony was held last Tuesday welcoming Wabauskang into the Miitigoog/Miisun partnership. The signing now allows the First Nation a seat at the table and a voice in what happens to the forest around the community.
“It’s a very glorious and honorable day today because of the signing. I didn’t do it for myself, I’m doing it for our people. It gives us a grip on things. Today I feel we have something, and I feel a good belonging to this organization,” said Wabauskang Chief Bill Petiquan
“Our overall vision 14 years ago was the vision to be a part of the decision-making in taking care of our forests. The broader vision was to always form partnerships. So we’re here to celebrate all of our success,” says Miitigoog President Lorraine Cobiness
The benefit of the signing is it now gives Miitigoog and Miisun the ability to manage the forest in and around the Wabauskang First Nation community.
“Today is a tremendous day, having more First Nation communities just allows us to better manage the forest, to better understand the values that are out there, and ensure that we’re maintaining a sustainable and healthy forest on the Kenora and Whiskey Jack Forests,” said Erik Holmstrom Vice President of Miitigoog
Petiquan added that with the signing he hopes that he will be able to have more control of where the cutting is done.
“We’re looking at something like building our own log cabins and keeping the forest and everything that we do within our community and within our Treaty 3 area. It’s important,” noted Petiquan
The addition of Wabauskang First Nation now marks the eighth First Nation community committed to the Miitigoog/Miisun partnership. The other First Nation communities involved are Dalles, Whitefish Bay, Onigaming, Shoal Lake 40, Northwest Angle #33, Big Island, and Wabaseemoong. The working partnership also includes local timber harvesting companies such as Weyerhaeuser.
Miisun is a 100 per cent First Nations Owned Integrated Resource Management Company based in Kenora, on Treaty 3. It was developed to promote First Nations opportunities in Forest Management. Miisun has an evergreen management agreement for the Kenora Forest with Miitigoog.
Miitigoog holds the Sustainable Forest License (SFL) for the Kenora and Whiskey Jack Forest.
Under the Miitigoog General Partner model, First Nations and industry share in the management responsibilities for the Kenora Forest with Miisun attending to monitoring, planning, and enforcement of the sustainable forestry plan.