The BC First Nations Forestry Council (BCFNFC) recently found its newest CEO in Merritt man Lennard Joe, a Registered Professional Forester with more than 30 years of experience in natural resource management and consulting. A member of the Nlaka’pamux First Nation, the council says Joe’s role as an Indigenous professional forester has opened doors in Indigenous governance, provincial and federal governments, industry, academia, and forest certification.
The BCFNFC says it is an advocacy organization working to support B.C. First Nations in increasing their role as the rightful owners of forest, lands, and resources. Promoting governance and stewardship of forest resources by First Nations, the council hopes to improve and sustain economic wealth and wellbeing in these communities through Indigenous values and sustainable practices. Joe, who has acted as the organization’s CEO since his appointment on August 15, wants to see First Nations have more of a seat at the table.
“I am excited to lead this amazing, diverse organization in our vital work to support Nations in efforts to increase our role in the governance and stewardship of forest lands and resources, and participation in the forest sector as full partners,” said Joe.
“As the original stewards, and with a knowledge that goes back generations, First Nations are key players in the transformation of the forest sector in BC, addressing the economic, social, cultural, and environmental challenges of managing forest lands and resources.”
Joe added that he is looking to increase efficiencies and benefits to First Nations communities by working with governments and other stakeholders to ensure their interests, values, and principles are taken into consideration and factored into policy. He looks to bridge the gap not only between First Nations and their land, but also the forest sector and environment.
Eager to get started, Joe stated that he will oversee an organization that keeps First Nations values at heart, and advocate for the engagement, respect, revenue, and relationships that are deserved. As a part of his mandate, Joe said he looks to fill a need for action regarding legislation and policy, as well as employment and support in the forestry industry. The BCFNFC uses Indigenous values and knowledge of sustainable practices to support the forestry sector.
“I will continue to uphold these values as we move forward in our work. I will continue to lead and promote the implementation of processes to restore the land and ecosystem, to work with partner organizations, such as the First Nations Leadership Council and others.”
The BCFNFC’s board also commented in a press release that they were pleased to see Joe join the team, and gave him a full endorsement. The board is hopeful, and looking forward to moving forward with their new leadership team in place.
“The Board fully endorses Lennard Joe as Chief Executive Officer,” said Chief Bill Williams (ta-lall-SHAM-cane siyam), president of BCFNFC’s Board of Directors.
“We are confident in his ability to lead through meaningful engagement with First Nations and thoughtful action. We look forward to working with Lennard to continue our necessary work uplifting First Nations and ensuring our communities are full partners in the BC forest sector.”
For more information on the BC First Nations Forestry Council, visit www.forestrycouncil.ca.