Pimachiowin Aki, the traditional land of four indigenous First Nations located in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Ontario, is now recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage Committee (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site. The 7.2 million-acre (2.9 million-hectare) region contains the largest protected stretch of boreal forest on Earth, includes 5,600 freshwater lakes, and provides habitat for more than 40 species of mammals and 220 species of birds. The region also has campsites that have been used for thousands of years, centuries-old trap lines that are still maintained, pictographs, and ancient hunting and cooking tools.
More than a decade ago, the First Nations Bloodvein, Little Grand Rapids, Pauingassi, and Poplar River worked together to seek recognition of Pimachiowin Aki as a place of value for both its natural and cultural significance. Known for millennia as unique and sacred by the people who live there, UNESCO found Pimachiowin Aki worthy of protection for its “outstanding universal values.”
Here is a glimpse of the treasures of Pimachiowin Aki.