Abegweit Healing Forest
Scotchfort Reserve, PE Established in 2019 Atlantic Canada’s first Healing Forest, located on Prince Edward Island’s Scotchfort Reserve, was established in 2019. Led by Brendan Kelly and Leigh Gustafson in partnership with Roddy Gould from Abegweit First Nation, the Healing Forest includes over 150 native trees and shrubs planted by community members. The opening ceremony included a prayer by Elder Stephenson Joe and was attended by local students, Indigenous youth groups, Island Nature Trust staff and community members and political representatives. A walking trail, fire circle, and handcrafted benches made by a local community member were built among the trees. The project will expand to include an interpretive trail with signs explaining the seven sacred teachings to encourage self-reflection, mindfulness, and healing. Native wildflowers will also be planted in the understory of the forest to be harvested and used in traditional practices.
ila’latl Healing Forest, Skye River Trail
We’koqma’q, Nova Scotia Established in 2022 In 2022, sisters Ella and Eva Nicholas of the We’koqma’q First Nation led efforts to create a gathering space for sacred ceremonies along the Skye River Trail in central Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. For millennia, the Mi’Kmaw people have harvested food and medicine from the riverside forest. Find out more about this Healing Forest project in this CTV News story.
Riverside Knowledge Path Healing Forest
Cape Breton, NS Established in 2021 The Riverside Knowledge Path is tucked away behind Riverside School in Albert Bridge, Nova Scotia. An accessible gravel two-kilometre walking path guides you through the surrounding Acadian forest. Read a book from the comfort of one of the wooden benches, gather in the Mawita’nej Learning Pergola or make music at the Sule’katike’l Sound Garden. The Path is home to a Healing Forest and a sharing circle, a space where students, staff and visitors can come together in the spirit of reconciliation. Stephen Augustine, a Mi'Kmaw Hereditary Chief and Associate Vice-President at Cape Breton University said, "This is reconciliation in action. They are actually reaching out to Indigenous Peoples.” Partner: Mi'Kmaw Nation