Northern chiefs disappointed province missing at discussion about caribou’s future
- EFN Staff | January 30, 2019
The provincial government was absent during a much-needed discussion of Athabasca Denesuline’s attempt to strengthen the caribou population – an overlooked issue in northern Saskatchewan. Recently, a Regional Barren Ground Caribou Workshop that took place on Hatchet Lake Denesuline First Nation to discuss the potential listing of barren ground caribou as “Threatened under the Species at Risk Act” where leaders, Elders and community have gathered.
Specialists from the federal and provincial government, as well as representatives from the Beverly Qaminirjuaq Caribou Management Board (BQCMB), were invited to present information that could assist the Athabasca Denesuline to better understand the issues and challenges. PAGC’s Executive and Athabasca Denesuline Chiefs expressed their concerns over the province’s absence in this important workshop due to a last-minute cancellation where no explanations were given.
“This is a shared responsibility, and by failing to allow the provincial regional biologist, who is also a BQCMB executive member to travel and present, the Ministers office showed its lack of commitment in dealing with caribou issues,” said PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte in a media release. “Since we are one of the main stakeholders at hand, it was important to have the province attend this meeting in order to share knowledge and listen to the communities who will be most impacted by this change.”
It is not known the reason of the provincial government’s absence but it’s an issue that the Athabasca Chiefs plan to get answers for to further discuss this matter.
“The Athabasca Denesuline Chiefs are deeply concerned that there was no explanation given as to why key staff were prevented from attending and providing valuable information,” added PAGC Vice Chief Joseph Tsannie. “Without having received any clear answers from them, we strongly believe that this is a step back in efforts of reconciliation with our First Nation communities.”