Imagine for a moment the life of a tree. They stand for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years, as witnesses and stewards of the constantly changing land. Some live through raging forest fires, deadly earthquakes, the hottest of heat waves, and in more recent years, human intervention—deforestation. This publication is structured around the life of a Western redcedar tree that starts its life in the year 1773 CE in the luscious forests of the Pacific Northwest. This year would mark a turning point in the history of the region. Since time immemorial the First Nations People resided here alongside the abundant forests until newcomers came and transformed it starting in the 18th century. From that point on, the landscape of the Pacific Northwest drastically changed as more and more settlers came to its coast and altered it to fit their needs. All the while, this Western redcedar, like many of the trees around it—around us—stood witness as its once luscious, abundant homeland became more and more barren. This publication only sheds light on a small fraction of this region’s history, a transformative time that had lasting effects on the landscape. I hope these stories will inspire awareness and gratefulness to these giant living beings that share this land with us.
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