Flames, forests and hope — two Indigenous-led efforts are underway to save our remaining wilderness

By Karan Saxena
The Narwhal
June 7, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: Canada

Kira Hoffman, a fire ecologist who worked with Gitanyow, texted Matt Simmons the night before the cultural burn to invite him to come and witness it himself. Knowing he couldn’t pass up the offer, he headed out to the territory in late April to see how the ignition team calmly painted the dry landscape with blazes that help restore cultural connections, heal the land and strengthen communities. …For Matt, “Watching how everyone interacted with the fire was so fascinating,” he told me. “There’s this amazing sense of calm and control — it was really reassuring.” …To the east in Nova Scotia, 90% of the hemlock trees could die in the next 10 to 15 years — all because of the hemlock woolly adelgid. But there’s one patch — Wapane’kati, the old-growth eastern hemlock forest at Asitu’lɨsk, an hour west of Halifax — that can still be saved, thanks to a Mi’kmaq-led effort.

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