Why This Project Matters
This project will help address the need to incorporate recognition and respect for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and traditional knowledge into sustainable forestry practices. It will link Indigenous knowledge with scientific knowledge by assessing the effectiveness of enhanced riparian management in the Penticton Indian Band (PIB) area of responsibility in British Columbia. The project will showcase how implementing the SFI 2022 Forest Management Standard and the PIB Enhanced Riparian Standards integrate recognition of Indigenous rights and drive improved management and outcomes for Indigenous values relating to water quality on SFI‑certified forestlands.
How the Project Supports Riparian Management and linking Indigenous Knowledge with Scientific Knowledge
Indigenous Elders and Knowledge Keepers will play key roles in the project. It will prepare the forestry sector for the adaptation of syilx forestry standards and assist industry in meeting SFI standards. The Syilx People of the Okanagan Nation are a trans-boundary tribe separated by the border between Canada and the United States. The nation is comprised of seven member communities, including the Penticton Indian Band. The Penticton Indian Band will sample forest blocks selected in SFI-PIB managed tenures. This project will produce empirical data and syilx cultural data on the relative health and abundance of syilx values and water quality parameters in streams, known as cecwixa in nsyilxcən, and their associated riparian areas in SFI-PIB managed tenures when compared to other areas. The Penticton Indian Band will develop pre-harvest and post-harvest sampling procedures.
The SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program is supporting this project. SFI is committed to building and promoting forest-focused collaboration rooted in recognition and respect for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and traditional knowledge. SFI firmly believes that inclusive, collaborative approaches to policy, program, and relationship development lead to real progress on the ground and a positive difference in people’s lives. The SFI 2022 Forest Management Standards includes Objective 8. It explicitly recognizes and respects Indigenous Peoples’ rights, ensures respect for Indigenous Peoples’ rights and traditional knowledge, and is aligned with the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
How the Project Helps Forest Managers
The project will help forest managers and forestland owners understand how meeting Objective 8 of the SFI standard can support other SFI Objectives such as water quality and biodiversity. The Penticton Indian Band will host a webinar that will link syilx Knowledge Keepers and syilx Nation resource managers with forest industry representatives and government to discuss the syilx forest standards, syilx caretakership rights and responsibilities. This dialogue will open the door for meaningful collaboration. The project will also explore opportunities to present or showcase the results of the project with the Association of BC Forest Professionals and SFI-certified organizations.
Capital letters aren’t used in nsyilxcən words because, according to nsyilxcən language holders, capitalization insinuates that someone or something holds more importance than another, and this belief does not fall in line with syilx ethics.
This partnership includes Indigenous representatives and forestry companies working together to enhance riparian management. These partners include:
Project Lead: Penticton Indian Band
Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Interfor (SFI‑certified organization)
BC Timber Sales (SFI‑certified organization)
Splatsin Indian Band: Forests Certified to SFI Work to Conserve Culturally Significant Plants, Enhancing Indigenous Values
Addressing Indigenous Interests and Building Partnerships fact sheet
The SFI Small-Scale Forest Management Module for Indigenous Peoples, Families and Communities in Canada