The Prince Albert Grand Council (PAGC) is calling for changes to the province’s wildfire strategies.
In a media release sent out Friday morning the Tribal Council called for the implementation of recommendations from a 2018 PAGC task force along with those laid out in a report from the House of Commons Standing Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs from 2017.
PAGC Grand Chief Brian Hardlotte said the Tribal Council should be part of Saskatchewan’s wildfire management strategies. The grand chief explained Indigenous communities have been disproportionately impacted by wildfires and said being part of the process would be valuable.
“By doing so we can empower Indigenous communities, protect our lands and build resilience against future wildfire events,” he said.
The PAGC as well said they want to see more funding for forest fire management. The Tribal Council said in recent years their have been cutbacks when it comes to resources.
Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) Chief Tammy Cook-Searson said in the same media release the current wildfires are having a real negative impact on the forests along with the overall ecosystem. She added the fires of the present time are not like ones which burned in the past, which had a positive rejuvenating impact.
“Today’s fires are different they are fueled by a shifting climate that burn with an intense heat and spread too quickly,” she said.
Former Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation (PBCN) chief and current senator, Peter Beatty said Indigenous perspectives and knowledge need to be part of wildfire strategies.
“We maintain a profound connection with the land and its resources, which are essential for our survival. And our rich history in forest fire suppression and our deep connection with the land allow us to provide invaluable insights,” he said.