Another project Pembina is supporting through Project Forest focuses on collaborating with Indigenous communities and what ecological reconciliation means to them. Pembina’s investment in the Swan River Ecological Reconciliation project will plant approximately 69,000 seedlings on 34 hectares of marginal hay land within Swan River First Nations’ Reserve (SRFN) lands.
Many Indigenous communities are leaning on their deep connection to the earth helping them to form a natural alliance with non-profit, conservation-based organizations, like Project Forest, to restore their traditional lands much closer to what they used to be. This repair to damaged lands, or ecological reconciliation, can only move forward ethically and honestly with the full involvement of the people on whose land the work is happening.
A study conducted by SRFN identified the food bearing, medicinal and culturally significant tree and shrub species that will be planted in the project area in the spring of 2023. Approximately 47,000 metric tonnes of CO2
(which equates to over 10,000 gasoline powered cars driven for one year) will be sequestered once the trees reach maturity. Habitat and landscape connectivity for wildlife will improve and soil erosion and sedimentation will reduce, improving water quality in the Swan River.
“Success to me means taking my grandkids and great grandkids to the forest we’re planting with Project Forest,” says Dustin Twin, Council member for Swan River First Nation. “We will walk on the trail, sit with our ancestors’ spirits, and pick berries. It’s a feeling of security, of knowing my community can take care of themselves.”
Pembina is currently exploring new projects with Indigenous communities across its operations, which our funding will support in future years. We look forward to collaborating with Indigenous communities on these projects which will help us to understand the importance of their traditional territory and unique culture.