By all accounts a meeting on forestry operations near northern Saskatchewan Metis communities on Wednesday night was positive.
Over the past few months there have been some concerns from northern Metis about plans for forestry operations in and around their communities.
They were concerned these operations may take away some areas used for traditional practices.
In response, Carrier Forest Products and Saskatchewan Environment officials have been meeting with the communities to determine what areas should be labelled as traditional use.
Vince Natomagan, Executive Director of the Kineepik Metis Local in Pinehouse says a meeting in Ile a la Crosse on Wednesday night was a positive step.
“I suppose the message of working together rather than bringing animosity and historical grievances prevailed in the meeting, so I guess it was fairly positive,” says Natomagan.
Natomagan says he was glad to communicate their message that they are not against forestry they just wanted their traditional lands to be respected.
During the meeting Natomagan says Metis leaders were encouraged to mark on maps areas they use for traditional purposes.
He says Saskatchewan Environment officials assured them they would take into consideration these areas when giving out logging permits.
Metis Groups from Buffalo Narrows, Pinehouse and Ile a la Crosse were in attendance for the meeting along with representatives from Sask. Environment and Carrier Forest Products.
Dave Knight manager with the company says he was pleased with the meeting as well.
He says they wanted to communicate their desire to respect traditional areas, but still make some financial gains through logging.
“If you look at all the community engagement meetings we have had it is probably the best I have ever been apart of,” says Knight. “I found the meeting to be really positive and helpful.”
Carrier Forest Products will be holding more community engagement meetings to help layout their logging plans including a meeting in Patuanak on Thursday.