It’s West Fraser’s goal to be connected with our communities, including the establishment of long-term, respectful relationships with Indigenous Peoples. We work with more than 100 Indigenous communities, governments, and organizations across Canada. Some of that work includes engagement about planned forestry operations; other times, it’s working with Indigenous groups on larger projects. On staff, West Fraser has community engagement coordinators, and their goals are to support the development of these relationships.
In the fall, two of our coordinators took part in the Mamawai Kapesiwin Camp, the 2020 Driftpile Family Cultural Day Camp. The First Nation community is located in the lesser Slave Lake region in Northern Alberta. Mamawai Kapesiwin is Cree and translates to “to gather together, camping together.” The camps took place over three weeks to allow for social distancing and other COVID-19 safety protocols to take place throughout the camp.
Driftpile Family Cultural Day Camp
The cultural camp included teachings from local community elders, allowing them to share their traditional values in the Cree language. There were different activities, including traditional bow and arrow making, survival skills, how to use traditional medicine plants, and tipi teaching. Finally, the camp ended with a traditional feast and a Tea and Giveaway Ceremony.
At the camp were West Fraser employees, Noel Gairdner and Doug Gladue.
“We always want to build strong relationships in the communities. Normally, we’re speaking with consultation teams and leadership,” says Doug Gladue. “Events like this give us, as WF employees, an opportunity to engage with the local members of these communities. This interaction is an important part of relationship building.”
Our coordinators took part in more youth camps later in September.