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Restoring Land and Relationships with the Shoshone Tribe

Our strength stems from our industry’s people.

The commitment to advance diversity, equity and inclusion in the paper and wood products industry is critical to our success on key initiatives such as sustainability.

By exploring partnerships, building awareness, and contributing to the well-being of our communities, our industry can make a difference.

AF&PA members, like Procter & Gamble, are learning about the history of the communities in which they work. Shaun Howard, Director of North American Warehousing, and Bill Armstrong, Sr. Process Engineer/Site Sustainability Leader, are co-leads for P&G's Native American Network, which started in 2004.

Together, Howard and Armstrong coordinate events for Native American employees across P&G and those curious to learn about the different traditions within Native American Tribes.

"The objective is to support each other, get in touch with others and support as many Native Americans in the company as possible," Howard said. "One of the main focuses is education about different Native American Tribes and communities and [to] give back."

One of the larger parts of the Network’s project is the work with the Northwestern Bank Shoshone Tribes in Utah and Idaho to build an interpretive center to honor the lives lost during the Bear River Massacre and share the Shoshone's side of history.

Another part of this project is revitalizing the Bear River site. The land used for farming is overrun by Russian Olive trees, an invasive species of trees and weeds. Working with the Shoshone Tribe, P&G and the Arbor Day Foundation secured trees native to the area and plan to plant them next year.

"The overall idea is to help refurbish the area and get it back to its 1863 condition" Armstrong explained.

For both Armstrong and Howard, it's a learning process, and recognizing that while there may be a dark past, there is a bright future ahead. Both noted the rewards that come from working on this project as they step back and look at the big picture.

"For me, the most rewarding thing is when we are able to educate and provide experiences to our employees. You see their energy and that's amazing," Howard remarked.

"It was meaningful to find people like me and have that affiliation. Giving back on a personal level is so rewarding," Armstrong said.

There is more work on the horizon for P&G and Shoshone Tribe. Howard and Armstrong are looking forward to the next steps toward restoring the land and sharing the Shoshone Tribe's history.

"It's really a fantastic thing. It's not trying to condemn what happened. It's to look forward to the future. It's a healing process and educational," Armstrong said.

The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) serves to advance U.S. paper and wood products manufacturers through fact-based public policy and marketplace advocacy. The forest products industry is circular by nature. AF&PA member companies make essential products from renewable and recycle resources, generate renewable bioenergy and are committed to continuous improvement through the industry’s sustainability initiative—Better Practices, Better Planet 2030: Sustainable Products for a Sustainable Future. The forest products industry accounts for approximately four percent of the total U.S. manufacturing GDP, manufactures nearly $300 billion in products annually and employs approximately 950,000 people. The industry meets a payroll of approximately $60 billion annually and is among the top 10 manufacturing sector employers in 45 states. Visit AF&PA online at afandpa.org or follow us on Twitter @ForestandPaper.