Cultural Identity



The foundation of all communities is their values. Enduring and treasured values come from each community’s heritage. When values from the past are the foundation that guide a community’s way into the future, what is carried forward is, of course, culture and heritage, but more powerful is pride. With community pride comes power. From community power comes empowerment.

SEED-SCALE learned by students at Future Generations has extended from these individuals to lead their communities forward.

 
 

What We Are Doing:

  • Class of 2005 alumnus Kelly Brown of British Columbia, Canada (pictured above), entered our program as a leader and salmon fisheries manager for his tribal community, the Heiltsuk Nation. His practicum project, For Our Children’s Tomorrow, involved work with over 100 community members, government agencies, and organizations to complete a comprehensive land-use plan that ensured equitable co-management of land and water resources for the Heiltsuk people.

  • In 2013, eight years after completing the graduate program, Brown was working as the Director of the Heiltsuk Integrated Resource Management Department (HIRMD), along with 17 other employees, to implement and continually improve upon the plan he developed during his practicum project. This team worked hard to negotiate a Reconciliation Protocol Agreement with 9 other tribes of the Coastal First Nations and the provincial government in order foster shared decision-making when it comes to land use and natural resource conservation.

  • This work led to fifty percent of Heiltsuk territory (particularly the Great Bear Rainforest region) being fully protected as a core zone, with the remaining 505 under ecosystem-based management. Brown also served as Chair of the Heiltsuk Nation Economic Development Corporation and a youth program consultant to Youth Skills Link—coordinated by Class of 2007.

  • Future Generations alumna, Mavis Windsor has two interesting projects.
    • “In the Heiltsuk Integrated Natural Resource Management Department, we have a vision that our
      ancestors acted as stewards of our water, lands, and resources, and respected all life it sustains…our vision and approach remain unchanged. We uphold the principles of ecosystem-based management as a foundation for a conservation–based economy….simply put, that means no more clear-cutting. You can’t go in and take one million cubic meters of timber like they used to in the 70s and 80s; that’s a rule of thumb that we negotiated with the province and had an agreement with them in 2005, so industry had to change the way they were taking timber and everyone had to change the way they were managing the land, so we’re developing those relations with industry and government.”

  • Mavis Windsor also traced the cultural history of her Heiltsuk Nation community in her practicum, Gvi’las: Our Way of Life. Windsor’s research spanned both socioeconomic analysis and conservation patterns, with a focus on the importance of wild salmon to the Heiltsuk's cultural identity and sustenance. Her analysis pointed to the ways that wild salmon are and can continue to be used as a social tool for the transfer of traditional values on the Heiltsuk Reservation where she was raised. Windsor follows through with this work post-graduation as the Program Coordinator for Youth Skills Link, which provides educational and enrichment experiences for the youth of the Heiltsuk Nation to learn how to honor and continue aspects of their indigenous culture.