Indigenous Youth Recognized for Achievements and Aspirations in Canada's Forest Products Sector

Pictured (Left to Right): FPAC President and CEO Derek Nighbor, Catherine Langille, Makue Vollant, Christine Leduc, Paul Robitaille.

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As National Forest Week is celebrated across the country, Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is announcing the winners of its 2023 Awards of Excellence program.

Today, FPAC announced that Makué Vollant, from the Atikamekw community of Manawan, and Catherine Langille, member of the Seine River First Nation, are the recipients of this year’s Skills Awards for Indigenous Youth.

The awards are presented in partnership with the Canadian Council of Forest Ministers (CCFM) and celebrate select Indigenous youth for their achievements and aspirations in the forest products sector.

"Today, we shine a spotlight on the remarkable achievements of two Indigenous youth who are forging their path within the forest products sector, Makué Vollant and Catherine Langille. We are proud to recognize their deep commitment to skills development, academic achievement, and meaningful engagement with their communities,” said Derek Nighbor, FPAC President and CEO.

Makué Vollant

Makué Vollant hails from the Atikamekw community of Manawan in Quebec. At only 23 years old, her profound connection with the forest dates back to her early years, where the outdoors offered solace and the harmony of nature. Makué's inquisitive nature led her to engage in research projects that explored the relationship between Atikamekw identity and culture and the territory surrounding them.

Currently finishing her final year in a forest technology program, Makué's goal is to contribute to her community and help the development of the forestry sector in Manawan and Quebec as a whole.

"I am proud to be able to work in the forestry sector, not only as a native, but also as a woman, because we also have our place there and it is still important to say. It is an honour for me to receive this award and I thank the organization for this great mark of recognition for Aboriginal youth,” said Makué.

Catherine Langille

Hailing from Seine River First Nation, Treaty #3, Catherine Langille currently serves as the Indigenous Relations Coordinator at Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) / Project Learning Tree Canada (PLT Canada). With an extensive background including roles as a Biologist Assistant and participation in the Outland Youth Employment Program, Catherine's journey in the forest sector has been transformative. She emphasizes the importance of Indigenous perspectives and the pathways for young Indigenous professionals.

“Working in the forest sector has changed my life! The hard physical labour in the bush changed my perspective on life in many positive ways. And social forestry focusing on relationships has made a positive impact in many spaces and supporting the growth of diverse perspectives in this sector translates directly into motivation and drive to continue growing the future of forestry,” Catherine said.

“I am grateful to be receiving this award as a young Indigenous woman in forestry and I am proud to be representation for other young women or leaders in the forest!”

These extraordinary individuals represent the future of Canada's forest products sector, with their dedication to community and passion for sustainability and forest management serving as an inspiration to people of every age.

About Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC)

FPAC provides a voice for Canada’s wood, pulp, paper, and wood-based bioproducts producers nationally and internationally in government, trade, and environmental affairs. As an industry with annual revenues exceeding $73B, Canada’s forest products sector is one of the country’s largest employers operating in hundreds of communities, providing 205,000 direct jobs, and over 415,000 indirect jobs across the country. FPAC and its members are committed to collaborating with Indigenous leaders, federal and provincial governments, labour partners, community groups, and other rightsholders and stakeholders to secure and advance the sector’s environmental, social, and economic potential for the long-term.

Source: FPAC