To promote and support increased Aboriginal involvement in forest management and related commercial opportunities, while staying committed to holistic or multiple-use forestry, to build sustainable Aboriginal communities.
The creation of a National Aboriginal forestry organization was called for at the landmark conference on Native forestry, entitled the National Native Forestry Symposium - Ethic To Reality. The conference was held in Vancouver, November 22-24, 1989, and was attended by some 450 delegates. At the conference, there was a consensus of support from the delegates in favour of establishing a national organization to promote forestry as a necessary condition for Aboriginal economic development, the repair of environment degradation, and the restoration of cultural and community spiritual health for Aboriginal people across the country.
The overall goal of NAFA is to promote and support increased Aboriginal involvement in forest management and related commercial opportunities. In the working toward this goal, NAFA is committed to holistic or multiple-use forestry, which implies the rebuilding and the sustainable development of the forest resource to serve a multitude of community needs, among those being the protection of wildlife and traditional food stuff habitat, protection of fur bearers, protection of clean and adequate supplies of water, establishment of forested areas for recreation and tourism attractions, traditional cultural and spiritual use, as well as the production of fibre for timber, pulp and paper and other wood by-products. Key to the concept of holistic forestry is the idea of community based strategies for transforming this resource ethic into reality.
To address the range of issues that must be dealt with to facilitate greater Aboriginal participation in the forest sector, NAFA has established the following objectives:
NAFA cooperates with various levels of government, the forest industry, associations, educational institutions and other Aboriginal organizations to achieve its objectives. The focus is on building appropriate tools for contemporary forest management by Aboriginal people consistent with the goals of self-determination and self reliance as expressed by the Assembly of First Nations.
NAFA is a grass roots initiative backed by First Nations and other Aboriginal groups and organizations that function at either the regional or community level in the area of forestry. The Board of Directors is comprised of ten representatives, one from each of the provinces and territories, except for the Atlantic region, which has two directors.