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Sunset over Athabasca River

We imagine that some of the lifestyle practices still in use today were known thousands of years ago, when the distant ancestors of today’s Aboriginal People settled in the bushlands.

Terry Garvin, from Carving Faces, Carving Lives: People of the Boreal Forest

In 1951, a young man from Craik, Saskatchewan, named Terry Garvin began his journey into the woods – specifically the boreal forest of Canada’s northwest. At the time, he was a constable for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, assigned to serve at various communities in a section of the boreal forest covering northern Alberta, northern Saskatchewan, northern British Columbia, and the southern Northwest Territories. Over the next thirteen years, his work brought him in close contact with some of the First Nations and Métis communities of the north, and his fascination with the culture of the people of the boreal forest was born.

fall morning

Mr. Garvin would go on to work at a number of different fields in the north: community development, socio-economic assessment and management, and consulting, to name a few. But for all the job changes in his life, the one constant was his passion for the boreal forest, and the Aboriginal Peoples whose cultures had grown and flourished out of the northern wilderness in times long before the arrival of the first Europeans. An avid and skilled photographer, Mr. Garvin turned his passion into a beautiful series of photographs, snapshots of the forest, the people, and a changing way of life in the northwest. These photographs, augmented by the words of Terry Garvin, have been the subject of two books, and are the foundation for this website.

The Heritage Community Foundation, with the kind financial support of Alberta Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, Alberta Community Development, Alberta Energy, Talisman Energy, and West Fraser Mills, invites you to share in Terry Garvin’s journey through the northwest. Through his lens and his prose, you will learn about the people, cultures, and traditions of the boreal forest in the following sections:

The Forest: Canada’s boreal forest is a vast woodland that touches almost every province and territory in the country. Learn more about this ancient and changing region, and about the resources that traditional hunters, trappers, and gatherers could draw out of it.

The People: Terry Garvin’s journey brought him in contact with some of the Aboriginal Peoples who sowed the seeds of their unique cultures in the northwest. Here you will learn about some of these Peoples, as well as pay a visit to some of the remarkable individuals Mr. Garvin encountered in his travels.

The Traditions: Traditions of northern survival based upon a hunting and trapping lifestyle, as well as traditions of art, culture, and spirituality, can be found in this section.

Follow the ancient trails of the people who have built their lives from the northern lands. Welcome to People of the Boreal Forest

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            For more on Aboriginal hunters and trappers in Canada’s northwest Boreal forest, visit Peel’s Prairie Provinces.
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