Thessalon First Nation Bio-Centre to take on new services – Anishinabek News

November 9, 2022

THESSALON FIRST NATION — As a result of a partnership between Thessalon First Nation (TFN) and Niigaaniin Services of the North Shore Tribal Council (NSTC), the TFN Bio-Centre will take on a new life servicing all Indigenous people in the Robinson Huron Treaty Area.

Elizabeth Richer, Director of Niigaaniin Services, estimates there are 5,000 members on-reserve in addition to 15,000 who live off-reserve.

The TFN Bio-Centre was originally owned and operated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNR); it closed in 1997. The property was rented out the following year and then sat vacant for two years. In the year 2000, TFN purchased the property with intentions to grow Alfalfa sprouts; the Alfalfa project was unsuccessful. Thessalon next took on the job of growing tree seedlings, which the MNR had been doing prior to the sale with annual peak production of 1.5 million seedlings planted. According to Jukka Heikurinen, a historian for the site, the original operation goes back to the Second World War when the property was a prisoner of war camp where prisoners “played a major role in tending the forests.” Heikurinen called the area the greenhouse sits in, “quite valuable and the most productive forest in North Ontario.”

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