Northern Ontario Business Staff, Northern Ontario Business
What began as a capacity-building exercise has evolved into a groundbreaking First Nations-owned and operated forestry venture and tenure model in northwestern Ontario.
Agoke Development Corporation received top honours in being named the winner of the Business Partnership of the Year Award at the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) Business Awards held in Timmins, Oct.18.
The three First Nation communities of Aroland, Marten Falls. and Eabametoong, collectively manage the 10,900-square-kilometre Ogoki Forest, 400 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.
Their corporation handles the silviculture programs and access road maintenance while protecting culturally sensitive areas and wildlife habitat.
“Commercial forestry has always been a challenging business environment for our First Nations,” said Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum in a news release. “Historically, we’ve been economically marginalized with little or no opportunity.
“In the Ogoki Forest, we set out to change that by taking Ontario’s forest tenure modernization process to the next level by securing a greater role in managing the land.”