In Boreal Forest, Indigenous Leader Bridges Environmental Divides

As Indigenous people, “we believe inherently that we are part of the Earth. We’re not separate. We don’t have dominion over it,” Stephen Kakfwi says. A former premier in Canada’s Northwest Territories, past president of the Dene Nation, and lifelong Indigenous rights activist, Kakfwi has spent decades working to balance protection of the mostly pristine areas of this landscape with sustainable economic development for First Nations communities.

The boreal region of Canada stretches across more than a billion acres, and is one of the largest intact forest ecosystems on Earth. Pew’s International Boreal Conservation Campaign encourages a balance between development and conservation and works with the people who live and there to achieve that goal. People of the Boreal is a multimedia project that tells the stories of those who have the most to gain or lose from decisions about how the region is managed. 

Learn more about Indigenous leader Stephen Kakfwi, and view the entire People of the Boreal series.

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Susannah Cernojevich

Officer, Communications