On Monday, Prince Albert Grand Council’s vice-chief said an agreement between its 12 member First Nations and the RCMP is “historic.”

PAGC and the Mounties signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for search and rescue missions that will clear things up when First Nations people go missing. From now on, there will be teamwork between two groups that haven’t always seen eye to eye, said PAGC Vice-Chief Brian Hardlotte.

“In the past, there used to be some tensions where maybe the RCMP and the leadership in the search and rescue teams weren’t really cooperating. They were working on their own,” he said.

The resolution for the MOU originally moved by Lac La Ronge Chief Tammy Cook-Searson, and moved onto a formal document that Hardlotte said will be a step forward with the RCMP.

“In our communities, in the Prince Albert Grand Council First Nations communities, we have people that go missing. Could be people out in the bush, and we also have people that go, unfortunate accidents you know. An example is drowning,” Hardlotte said.

He says from now on, there will be teamwork.

“We need that, because you know, we all know the historical relationship between First Nations people and the RCMP.”

First Nations already have a lot of resources that the RCMP can use, and they’ll be providing the RCMP with a booklet that connects them with the First Nations chief, council, and will let them know which communities have local search and rescue teams that will be able to help.

He says it will also clear up some of the financing of missing people searches, and pointed out that PAGC has helped with searches off-reserve in the past.