“People have to think more holistically about their actions. Everything comes down to ‘how much money can I make from this.’ Until this changes, all this talk of environmental protection is bullshit.” Cree Helen Atkinson in Whapmagoostui, Québec, Canada 1993
The First North American Temperate Forest Conference
The conference took place from 11-14 November 1993 in Burlington, VT (Ndakinna – Abenaki territory). Over 400 people attended. Dr. David Suzuki and Anishinabe activist Winona LaDuke gave the keynotes on Friday and Saturday. Eighteen Indigenous representatives of First Nations, including Lil’Wat, Mohawk, Algonquins, Great Whale (Whapmagoostui) Cree, Inuit and Abenaki, shared knowledge with the forest movement.
The conference was organized by Eastern North American Native Forest Network co-Coordinators Anne Petermann and Orin Langelle. The NFN was founded at the First International Temperate Forest Conference in Tasmania (AUS) in 1992. Please see Native Forest News article at the bottom of this post.
The First North American Temperate Forest conference helped increase awareness within the forest movement of Indigenous Peoples’ views on the meanings of forests; some calling forests home. The conference provided space for dialogue to build and broaden strategies of resistance and alliances. Because the conference highlighted the situation with Hydro-Québec’s (H-Q) continued attempts to build mega-dams on sovereign Cree and Inuit territories, plans were made for an international day of action on the 50th anniversary of H-Q the following April (1994).
H-Q did not have a happy anniversary. Protests took place across the globe. The state of New York then cancelled their H-Q contract, and, along with mounting opposition by Cree and solidarity activists internationally, H-Q put their Great Whale Project “on ice.”