Lack Of Notification On Oil Exploration Irks Chief

Friday, April 08, 2005 at 15:58



A northern chief says he can’t believe his First Nation wasn’t informed about an oil company’s decision to explore land in the band’s traditional area.


It was earlier this week that news filtered out of Calgary that a company there had secured an exploration permit for 1.4 million acres of land in northwest Saskatchewan.


Oilsands Quest says it hopes to drill as many as 20 exploration holes in the land.


According to company president Christopher Hopkins, the exploration area begins 20 to 30 kilometres north of the Clearwater River Dene Nation.


That has the band chief Roy Cheechum wondering why he wasn’t consulted about the move.


Cheechum says he doesn’t object to economic activity within his First Nation’s traditional lands — he just wishes someone would have been told about it directly, instead of learning about it throught the media.


Cheechum points out that it was over issues like this that his band erected a blockade of the road to the Cluff Lake mine last summer.


Cheechum says he plans to contact the government about his concerns.


Meanwhile, Hopkins says he hopes to begin drilling this winter.