Restoring Indigenous Maskoke Homelands in Alabama through Indigenous Forest Conservation and Regenerative Agriculture

Ekvn-Yefolecv resident standing in front of the recently completely timber framed ecovillage community center. Image credit: Courtesy of Ekvn-Yefolecv

Restoring Indigenous Maskoke Homelands in Alabama through Indigenous Forest Conservation and Regenerative Agriculture

Organization
Category Nature Conservation

Our project categories represent one of three core solutions pathways to solving climate change. Energy Transition focuses on renewable energy access and energy efficiency. Nature Conservation includes wildlife habitat protection and ecosystem restoration, as well as Indigenous land rights. Regenerative Agriculture supports farmers, ranchers, and community agriculture.

Realm Northern America

The Project Marketplace is organized by the major terrestrial realms divided into 14 biogeographical regions – N. America, Subarctic America, C. America, S. America, Afrotropics, Indomalaya, Australasia, Oceania, Antarctica, and the Palearctic realm, which coincides with Eurasia and is divided into Subarctic, Western, Central, Eastern, and Southern regions.

Status active

Seed indicates an early stage project that needs some level of support to develop into a larger funding proposal. Ongoing indicates any project that needs core programmatic funding. Urgent indicates a short-term project initiated in response to a natural disaster or other impending risk.

Funding Level $$$$$

$$$$$ indicates a project needing over $5 million in funding.

Timeframe 10 Months
Partner Ekvn-Yefolecv

Ekvn-Yefolecv is an Indigenous ecovillage community located in a critically endangered montane longleaf pine ecosystem. Although a timber company is formulating plans to clear cut trees on approximately 730 acres adjacent to the existing Indigenous community that hosts old-growth montane longleaf pines, there is an opportunity to save this forest and restore the land. Ekvn-Yefolecv will bring back ancestral land management and prescribed fire practices in the existing forest and create a large silvopasture range for bison restoration. 

Bison standing on a ridge in silvopasture at Ekvn-Yefolecv. Image credit: Courtesy of Ekvn-Yefolecv

This project will support the conservation of bison, native forests, food sovereignty, and economic sustainability of the Maskoke ecovillage community.

The Ekvn-Yefolecv project is fully Indigenous-led. The Maskoke people have lived in this region, which includes lands in Alabama, for time immemorial until forced displacement began in 1836. In January 2018, a collective of the Maskoke reacquired 577 acres (now 1,240 acres) of traditional homelands. It has since been building an off-grid income-sharing community that is growing new fluent speakers of the critically endangered Maskoke language through immersion and the teaching of traditional ecological and agricultural knowledge.

Welcome sign to Ekvn-Yefolecv Maskoke Ecovillage. Image credit: Courtesy of Ekvn-Yefolecv

This project will protect 730 acres of the already endangered montane longleaf pine habitat. It will also preserve the streambank of the Weogufka, a tributary to the Coosa River, into which Ekvn-Yefolecv began reintroducing fingerlings of the culturally significant, yet once extirpated, lake sturgeon (a part of Ekvn-Yefolecv’s aquaculture project for sturgeon restoration). 

Applying earthen plaster to strawbale walls. Image credit: Courtesy of Ekvn-Yefolecv

The expansion of Ekvn-Yefolecv’s current bison ranch will contribute to the longevity of the near-threatened species. It will also serve as a regenerative source of income for Ekvn-Yefolecv to continue critical language and cultural revitalization work. 

This project will support more than a dozen farmers and ranchers and sequester over 180 metric tons of carbon annually.

Ekvn-Yefolecv timber frame building construction from trees sustainably harvested and milled on-site. Image credit: Courtesy of Ekvn-Yefolecv

Ekvn-Yefolecv’s stewardship of a sustainable bison herd will ensure appropriate genetic management for the perpetuation of the species. Soil health will continue to improve while also providing a stable home for the endangered longleaf pine habitat (with no threat of clearcutting) to sequester carbon and enhance the hydrological cycle in the region. Ekvn-Yefolecv residents will benefit economically through this food sovereignty initiative by having a regeneratively grown meat to supply the ecovillage farm-to-table restaurant.

To reduce its ecological footprint, Ekvn-Yefolecv is committed to localizing food systems. Partnering with buyers within the bioregion is a top priority for ecovillage residents. Moreover, partnering with conservation entities to assist with prescribed fire will yield immense success.

This project is located in the Appalachia & Allegheny Interior Forests bioregion (NA24)

This project was identified as catalytic for natural climate solutions by the Jonas Trees for Climate Health Initiative, which recognizes projects critical to restoring healthy forests for a resilient future. Through this initiative, Jonas Philanthropies has donated $610,000 to more than 38 organizations, 52% of which are Black or Indigenous lead organizations, to support tree-growing. Since January 2020, these organizations have grown more than 750,000 trees with the “Right Tree, Right Place, Right Community” approach.

Building strawbale wall system for Ekvn-Yefolecv's two-story feed storage/microgreens growing/chicken hatchery building. Image credit: Courtesy of Ekvn-Yefolecv

Funding this project will protect critically endangered forests, restore forest ecosystems, and do so much more than growing trees. By additionally restoring healthy economies and revitalizing cultures of care, the health of our entire planet can improve.

Provide a major gift

Your contribution will help ensure the long term success of this important project. Gifts can be made as a tribute to a friend or family member and are tax-deductible for U.S. residents. Please contact us!