In the first part of this moment in history series, we looked back on the beginnings of one of the most momentous projects in the Foundation's history. Now in Part 2, the project work begins in earnest.
One of the Pacific Salmon Forest project's primary goals was to support community economic development projects on B.C.'s coast, offering local First Nations alternatives to jobs in industrial forestry and unsustainable fisheries. The project area encompassed seven First Nations territories and 13 communities.
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The P.S.F. team members knew that in order for these projects to be effective, they would have to do two things. First, they would have to put Foundation staff on the ground in the project areas. And second, they would have to directly involve First Nations in every step of project development and execution.
The team developed projects at both the local and regional level. Local initiatives included the Nemiah Project, in which Foundation staff member Roberta Martell lived in the community and worked with a team of three local women as well as Nemiah Chief and Council to build a trail riding initiative and cultural tourism site. The Nemiah team also built a community garden and straw bale houses as an alternative to federally funded and constructed reserve housing.
Other teams created and implemented the Heiltsuk Salmon Stream inventory project, hiring local crews to map fish-bearing streams and collect data on their habitat conditions. In Hartley Bay, staff developed the Gitga'at Cultural Heritage Centre, a traditional longhouse that would serve as a hub for Gitga'at ecotourism ventures.
At the regional level, the Stream Assessment Field Technician Training Program taught two members of each First Nations community in the project area to assess the state of local streams. And the Culturally Modified Tree (C.M.T.) Assessment Training Program provided participants from 11 communities with training in C.M.T. assessment, so they might have more control of cultural treasures in their communities.