Caring For Our Common Ground
By Rebecca Jacobs, Posted on January 10, 2023
Announced in April of 2021, the initial phase of the Common Ground project began an exploratory partnership between Community Forests International, the Nova Scotia Family Forest Network, and the Ulnooweg Development Group.
What started as an effort to empower nature-based climate action throughout communities in the Maritimes quickly expanded into partnerships and increased solidarity among settler and Indigenous community groups, conservation organizations, and family forest owners. This project has allowed our organizations and project participants to learn more about Indigenous leadership, knowledge, and rights in caring for the endangered Wabanaki forest.
If you’ve been with us for a while, you will have likely seen the shared storytelling through film, voice, and text. The partnership has also hosted a number of workshops for forest professionals and forest walks and community events. Throughout, the principle of Etuaptmumk (two-eyed-seeing) has been a guiding approach to the partnership’s knowledge-sharing and creation.
It’s not enough to talk about the importance of reconciliation — truth needs to be accompanied by action and reciprocity.
Looking back on our work together over the course of the project, we identified six principles that are critical to building common ground between communities from diverse backgrounds:
- Build trusting relationships.
- Put reconciliation into action.
- Learn the story of the land through Indigenous languages.
- Use two-eyed seeing as a guide, but practice with care.
- Challenge concepts of ownership.
- Credit Indigenous methods of ecological forestry.
Today, you can read more about how to embody these principles in action and see all that the Common Ground project has accomplished to date.
And make sure to visit the Common Ground Resources page to watch, listen, and read more to learn how you can be part of this movement for a thriving and restorative future.
We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the forest caretakers, forest professionals, knowledge keepers, elders, and creative professionals who generously shared their time, expertise, and experiences with us through this project.
The first phase of the Common Ground Project would not have been possible without the support of The Catherine Donnelly Foundation, The Chawkers Foundation, Environment and Climate Change Canada, New Brunswick Environmental Trust Fund.