June 1, 2022 – Bridgewater, NS – Indigenous-led registered charitable organization Ulnooweg Education Centre (UEC) celebrated as the UEC will be stewarding the land on behalf of the Mi’kmaq. Forest Wapane’kati is one of the longest-standing examples of sustainable forestry in Canada that is in the protection of a group of forest families, which the Ulnooweg Education Centre now joins.

Windhorse Farm, located in Lunenburg County, was recently transferred in December 2021 from Jim and Margaret Drescher to the Ulnooweg Education Centre as an act of Truth and Reconciliation. After 180 years of ownership by many generations of two families, this represents a historic land-back event and the first of its kind in the region to an Indigenous charitable organization. Other examples of land reparations across Canada include Pimachiowin Aki in Manitoba, the Treaty Land Sharing Network in Saskatchewan, and the Indigenous Protected Conservation Areas like Walpole Island Land Trust in Ontario.

Ulnooweg’s Chief Operating Officer, Chris Googoo, provided artistic renditions of the further plans of Windhorse as a place to learn, heal and educate. “Under the Ulnooweg Education Centre, Windhorse will become a place of traditional learning, healing, and gathering. It will be a place to connect with Mother Nature, learn about culture, language, ecology, health, science, and heal and grow,” says Googoo.

UEC intends to bridge generations to gather together to learn and share knowledge. The primary focus will align with land-based learning and healing for people of all ages, but especially for Elders and youth to explore and learn from the land. A name change is in the works but has not been announced.

Of Windhorse, which has long been open to the public, Googoo says, “I’m not just looking at Indigenous people to come here, but all people interested in having that journey of decolonization, that journey of reconciliation.”

The event highlighted the space as it is now and plans for future expansion.

“It’s more than just a piece of property to us,” Googoo says. “I just immediately had visions of our Indigenous children, and non-Indigenous children, running through the forest – that ancient forest – and learning about the interconnectedness between people and Mother Nature.”

About Windhorse:

Windhorse is a natural landscape and retreat located on the shore of Atuomkuk/Wentzell Lake of the Pijnuiskaq/LaHave River Watershed. It is a place where the ancestors of the Mi’kmaq flourished for thousands of years in Sin So’sepe’katik/Bridgewater, Nova Scotia. This land holds host to the ancient Wapane’kati forest, a woodshop, organic permaculture gardens, a conference centre with contemporary facilities, off-the-grid cabins, and opportunities for visitors to connect with nature via personal and professional events and functions.