Chief David Walkem is a forester who builds bridges. He is a protector of environment and an advocate for using traditional ecological knowledge in the co-management of our eco-systems. Chief Walkem understands that the eco-systems are valuable tools for Aboriginal people providing an important connection to our traditions, language and identity.
Chief Walkem builds communication bridges with developers and forestry companies that allow Aboriginal people to benefit from the business of forestry but also allow the land to regenerate and renew. It’s a tenuous balance, but Chief Walkem has been doing it for the better part of his life, actually becoming the first Native person in BC to achieve the designation of a forester. He didn’t stop there. He was raised by a family of Native leaders who instilled in him the concepts of respectful negotiations, advocacy and his traditional teachings. Getting a Masters of Business Administration he knew full well the need for a Native person to sit at the negotiating tables with the forestry companies and federal and provincial governments. He established mechanisms that address Aboriginal values and interests in the land, working to create a resource co-management system that puts the control into the hands of the First Nations. He is a force to be reckoned with in the forestry industry. Whether he is building bridges in the industry, encouraging First Nation youth to pursue careers in environment or advocating for First Nation rights, he hopes to leave a legacy that stands as tall and strong as the BC forests he fights so hard to protect.