Gaining Greater Understanding and Building Better Relationships
Why this Project Matters
In Minnesota, there are seven Anishinaabe (Chippewa, Ojibwe) reservations and four Dakota (Sioux) communities. This project involves modifying six Project Learning Tree (PLT) lessons to reflect local Tribal values. PLT is an initiative of SFI. The lessons will be shared with Minnesota teachers to increase students’ awareness of the unique cultural perspectives of Native American communities with respect to forests and forest management. It will promote greater cross-cultural understanding and build better relationships between the Tribes, educators and local forestry professionals and owners in the process. The effort will make the six selected PLT lessons more understandable and relatable to Indigenous participants. It will also help PLT make all of its lessons more inclusive for learners of all backgrounds.
How the Project is Helping Teachers Understand Native American Values
This project promotes cross-cultural understanding between Tribal communities and environmental educators by exploring their unique perspectives on the value of sustainably managed forests. Modified PLT lessons will tell the story of responsible and sustainable use of forest resources for the betterment of society and the environment. By building relationships with tribal educators, this project will give them more opportunities to share their traditional ecological knowledge and views on forest values and forest management with forestry professionals.
The SFI Community Grant Program is supporting this project through PLT, which is an initiative of SFI. Once the lessons are complete, they will be and made available to educators throughout the state on the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website. The lessons will also be highlighted during PLT workshops. A PLT workshop on these lessons will be held with Tribal educators and administrators in northern Minnesota. The Minnesota Indian Education Association will be encouraged to share these lessons with their members.
How this Project Builds SFI Community Engagement
SFI respects the rights of Indigenous Peoples and believes our shared quality of life improves when forests are sustainably managed for current and future generations. These shared values allow for a strong and multi-faceted link between SFI and Indigenous communities across the U.S. and Canada. Partnering with the Blandin Foundation of Grand Rapids, Minnesota is supporting this commitment. The Blandin Foundation will assist in identifying leading Tribal educators and establishing meaningful, productive relationships with them.
The project includes hiring a tribal educator to perform the PLT lesson plan revisions. Once complete, the Tribal educator will help inform peers of the new lessons. A planned second phase for further outreach and relationship-building in 2021 will give Tribal foresters a platform for sharing their views with non Tribal peers.
This partnership includes academics, teachers, government officials, and Tribal leaders and educators.
- Project leads: Minnesota SFI Implementation Committee and Minnesota Forest Industries
- Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- University of Minnesota
- Minnesota Department of Natural Resources
- Blandin Foundation
- Minnesota Forest Resource Partnership
- Norbord, Inc. (SFI‑certified organization)
SFI Promotes Indigenous Rights, Respect and Engagement
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Center for Native Peoples and the Environment: Exploring Forest Sustainability with Indigenous Youth
Cree First Nation of Waswanipi: SFI Is Supporting the Transfer of Scientific and Traditional Knowledge to Cree Youth in Waswanipi