February 04, 2023

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Indigenous-Led Charity works with Land Stewards to Acquire Windhorse Farm and Old Growth Forest

Indigenous-Led Charity works with Land Stewards to Acquire Windhorse Farm and Old Growth Forest

Millbrook, NS – In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, the stewards of Windhorse Farm, a beautiful property of nearly 200-acres that includes pristine old growth forest located on Wentzell Lake [Atuomkuk] in the LaHave River [Pijnuiskaq] watershed near Bridgewater [Sin So’sepe’katik], Nova Scotia, are returning the land to the Mi’kmaq.

Through a combination of purchase and gift, ownership of Windhorse Farm is being transferred to the Ulnooweg Education Centre – an Indigenous-led charitable organization. Windhorse Farm has been sustainably stewarded by settlers for nearly two centuries.

For 150 years, the first European settlers on the land were the Wentzell family. They acknowledged the unique essence of the land and resisted the pressures of clearcutting and practiced sustainable forestry and agriculture – protecting the land for future generations.

The Drescher family have cared for and enhanced Windhorse Farm over the last 30 years and made it possible for thousands of others to experience its unique and powerful healing qualities. The Dreschers were helped by a group of nine “Forest Families” who shared their passion for the land and their commitment to its protection.

Chris Googoo, Chief Operating Officer of the Ulnooweg Education Centre, states, “We are grateful to the Dreschers and the Forest Families for their stewardship and caring for the land. We greatly appreciate their desire to return this land into the care of the Mi’kmaq. Through our efforts to conciliate with the settler population, we aim to reconcile with Mother Nature and give hope for future generations. Windhorse Farm will provide meaningful programming through land-based healing and educational programs in a safe space for all who wish to come, especially youth and elders.”

Margaret Drescher adds, “For a long time, it has been our family’s dream for Windhorse to go back to the Mi’kmaq, from whom it was taken. It is our privilege to pass the land back through the Ulnooweg Education Centre and we look forward to seeing their vision come to fruition.”

The farm consists of many organic permaculture gardens, a conference lodge, a century old farmhouse, rustic barn, off-grid forest cabins, a woodshop, lake access, and kilometres of walking trails.

The Ulnooweg Education Centre is seeking support through donations for acquisition and operational costs in hopes to be mortgage-free, so that they can focus on educational programming and operations. To learn more, please visit www.ulnoowegeducation.ca/windhorse.

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About the Ulnooweg Education Centre

The Ulnooweg Education Centre is an Indigenous-led registered charitable organization that aims to empower Indigenous communities through the advancement of education through collaborative research, development, and delivery of educational programs. Program initiatives are focused on science and innovation in STEAM, agriculture, financial literacy, and forestry through a holistic approach with traditional values of Indigenous culture and language.

What will be the future of Windhorse Farm through Ulnooweg Education Centre?

  • To be inclusive through Msit Nokmaq/ All my relations
  • For the promotion of Netukulimk / The interconnectedness of all living things
  • To become a living lab of Etuaptmumk/Two-eyed seeing

Mi’kmaq Place Names: https://placenames.mapdev.ca/ 

  • Atuomkuk = At the Sandy Lake > Wentzell Lake
  • Pijnuiskaq = River of long joints/branches > LaHave River
  • Sin So’sepe’katik = At Saint Joseph’s Place > Bridgewater
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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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