The Montreal Lake Cree Nation, Big River First Nation, Pelican Lake First Nation, Witchekan Lake First Nation and Meadow Lake Tribal Council are among a consortium of 13 First Nations to form an alliance to better explore business opportunities in the forestry industry.

“[The] First Nations will exercise their financial resources to leverage and partner with new business interests while maintaining the traditional use integrity of their Ancestral Lands,” according to a press release.

Robert Fincati, CEO of Montreal Lake Business Ventures says this new agreement has been years in the making and will hopefully bring the First Nations together.

“This is just bringing everybody all together through an alliance, through the political process to be able to create more opportunities,” Fincati said. “We’re particularly interested in an opportunity to have a facility in Prince Albert, a hardwood facility.”

“We foresee several forestry-related opportunities in the future and we want to strategically engage those opportunities to maximize benefits.  We are proud to be part of this agreement and excited for the future,” explained Bruce Morin Chief of Big River First Nation.

The collective First Nations have control through their licences and commercial arrangement in excess of 4 million cubic meters of Annual Allowable Cut in Saskatchewan, amounting to more than 50 percent of the active wood supply in the province.

“We all have a common interest in making sure we are all on the same page when it comes to strategy, maximizing benefits, and above all, taking care of the land, and we need to respect those practices through joint agreements such as this one,” Meadow Lake Tribal Council Chief Richard Ben said.

(Photo of a logging truck. MBC file photo.)