First Light Short Course

with Peter Forbes

July 5-8, 2022

4 day workshop


A short course for conservationists, landholders and philanthropists who are interested in the path to becoming stronger accomplices to Indigenous peoples around their reclaiming and reconnecting to their traditional landscapes.  This course is taught by non-Native people on what dominant culture land-holding groups can do to relearn history, recenter Indigenous knowledge, and return land, decision-making, power and other resources to Indigenous partners.  

The course will draw extensively from 5 years of experiences and learnings from First Light, a collaboration in Maine between hundreds of leaders, 65 organizations and Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Maliseet and Mi’kmaq Nations to re-learn history, recenter Indigenous voice and to return land, resources and power.  Together, Wabanaki and non-native collaborators have created The Wabanaki Commission on Land, granted legal access to 78,000 acres and returned 3,000. Equally transformative, 65 dominant culture organizations have committed to working collectively for Wabanaki prosperity. 

This short course will be led by Peter Forbes, the co-founder of both First Light in Maine and the Oregon Land Justice Project.

This in an intensive program.  There will be 6 hours of presentations and group dialogue each day. The short course is four days/3 nights: dates.

Learning Objectives:

  • A deeper understanding of the through line of white culture from colonization to conservation, and how colonization continues to underpin the primary tools of conservation.
  • A thorough review of the year-long educational process that inspires white dominant organizations to evolve their practices, share power, and return land.
  • A review of the new real estate tools that are emerging in conservation to share and return land.
  • An analysis of the organizing approaches that have led to collective action and the pooling of financial and human resources from among the conservation movement to directly support Indigenous prosperity.
  • A deep dive into dominant culture practices that hinder real collaboration with Indigenous communities, and those which open a path toward real allyship.
  • Dialogue among the participants: What is calling you to do this work? What are the foundations of your commitment to it?  How do you hope to be changed by it? Why is this work important to the future of conservation? How do you hope it will shift what conservation means?
  • Learn about existing examples of large-scale collective action within the conservation movement to address justice, diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Learn how land trusts fit into the land back movement


This tuition-free short course is by application, and priority will be given to First Light organizations, to land trusts in Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York; philanthropies in New England, and landholders in New England.

This is critical information and knowledge for anyone connected to land trusts, but the ideal audience is senior staff, program managers and board members who can be leaders in the process of organizational change that is required of this work.

Group size will be limited to 20 people.

Full workshop cost:

Room & meals (3 nights): $480.00

Tuition: This course is tuition-free and supported by New Learning Journey, the nonprofit partner of First Light and Knoll Farm.

Please apply below to be included in this year’s program

    What is the work that you do that might benefit from this workshop?*

    Why are you drawn to taking this workshop, what do you need to get from it?*

    Do you work for a specific organization or is your work connected to a specific community?*

    Thank you for taking the time to tell us about yourself. We will respond to your registration within 48 hours.

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