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Montreal Lake Cree Nation Joins Initiative For Higher Standards In Forestry Management Standards PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Friday, 24 October 2014 15:14

A huge tract of forest in central Saskatchewan is now certified to standards set by an independent organization called the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

SFI works with forestry companies and First Nations to put standards and policies in place that protect the land and ensure sustainable forest management for generations to come.

It is a non-profit organization that is internationally recognized for its forestry initiative programs and has a long history of partnerships with First Nations.

Kaskew Forestry Products of Prince Albert is licensed by the Montreal Lake Cree Business Ventures to manage and operate the wood allocation.

General manager Bart Smith says preserving and protecting ancestral territory is very important to the company and is worth the effort.

“Definitely there is more to do to being certified but our thought is we are very concerned about the future and we want to make sure we protect Montreal Lake ancestral territory, so it is well worth the extra effort to meet this standard,” he says.

Smith also says meeting SFI objectives and other performance criteria improves the company’s ability to cooperate with local partners in harvesting and at the same time participate more fully in the local economy.

The area of forest involved is about half the size of Prince Edward Island.

Aboriginal Enrollment Hits Record High At U of S PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fraser Needham   
Friday, 24 October 2014 15:12

A record number of Aboriginal students are registered at the University of Saskatchewan this fall.

Indigenous enrollment is up 10 per cent over last year with a total of 2,121 students self-declaring as Aboriginal.

The university says one of the reasons for the increase is the institution has made it easier to self-declare as First Nations, Métis or Inuit.

The U of S is also highlighting some of the benefits of self-declaring such as access to specific scholarships and programs.

International student enrollment is also up by over 10 per cent and out-of-province students by three per cent.

New first-time Alberta students in direct-entry programs are up by over 22 per cent and new students from Calgary by 78 per cent.

The U of S says it has a broad strategy to increase student numbers in a variety of areas.

The university’s overall student enrollment has held steady at just under 21,000 students.

Documentary Examines Plight Of First Nations Communities Displaced by 2011 Manitoba Flood PDF Print E-mail
Written by Fraser Needham   
Friday, 24 October 2014 15:10

A new documentary examines the plight and personal stories of two Manitoba First Nations communities that are still displaced as the result of a 2011 flood.

Treading Water: Plight of the Manitoba First Nation Flood Evacuees is the product of brother and sister documentary filmmakers Janelle and Jeremie Wookey.

It chronicles the hardships of 2,100 residents of the Lake St. Martin region who have been forced to live in hotels and temporary housing for the past three-and-a-half years after their homes were destroyed by the flood.

Janelle Wookey says being separated from their communities for such an extended period of time has taken a heavy psychological toll on the residents of the Lake St. Martin and Little Saskatchewan First Nations.

“A lot of families we heard had experienced people in their families who had actually committed suicide and they attributed their suicide to the traumatic nature of being displaced,” she says.

Wookey also says a number of children from the communities have not attended school for more than three years as a result of the displacement.

She adds the families have become somewhat of a political football as various levels of government and organizations have failed to help them reconstruct their communities.

“We learned that there are so many layers, so many different players the game – there’s hotel rooms, there’s governments, the different levels of government, the leadership of the different First Nations and a lot of people taking advantage of things and a lot of people with agendas.”

The Lake St. Martin region is located about 75 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.

Treading Water will be screened Friday at the imagineNative Film Festival in Toronto.

It has already aired on the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network and CBC.

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