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Saskatchewan chapters oppose clearcutting on Treaty 6 territory

The Council of Canadians Regina, Quill Plains, Saskatoon and Prince Albert chapters have written the Saskatchewan government to express their dismay over the clearcutting of traditional lands held by the family of Idle No More co-founder Sylvia McAdam Saysewahum on Treaty 6 territory in Saskatchewan.

In a joint media release, Regina chapter activist Jim Elliott says, “The Saskatchewan Government by way of Minister of the Environment Scott Moe continues to blame the victim for the clearcutting of their traditional hunting lands. Ms. Sylvia McAdam has been told ‘they will clearcut and take the trees no matter what we say’. They have been asking the government to stop for five years. That is why we have gone public on this matter.”

Elliott then highlights, “The minister, through his letter, places the blame clearly onto the victim of the clearcut who didn’t get this land set outside of the approved cutting plan. They also blame the Chief and Council for not consulting widely with their band members. This is not acceptable and clearly not responsive to a productive relationship between the Crown and First Nations.”

Yesterday morning, McAdam posted the photo (shown above) on Facebook and said, “This is my dad, he’s seeing the destruction of my mosoms hunting lands for the first time. The failure of Indian Act leadership who consented our behalf for off reserve lands in which they have no jurisdiction or authority to do so. Even worse, Saskatchewan environment who know this is a violation have called it their ‘due diligence’. How can this be allowed to happen? My peoples boreal forest is gone.”

Today she posted on Facebook, “Throughout my childhood nipapa has always supported me. Its times like yesterday when he saw the clearcutting that its difficult to speak. Words are not enough, I’m engulfed in grief for him. On top of all that, my family’s shelter at our hunting lands has been damaged and broken, whoever did that also decided to ‘spin their tires’ as they drove away. Its not cool someone did that but we’ll set it back up and fix it. I’m just going to smudge and say prayers for the next few days. I have to try and find that place of peace, right now I feel intense pain. For all of you out there, protect and nurture land defenders and protectors. Ekosi.”

In August, the chapters also wrote to the environment minister to express their concern that the Saskatchewan Government is violating Treaty 6 by allowing the Prince Albert-based company Sakaw Askiy Management Inc. to clearcut traditional treaty land near Leoville, Saskatchewan.

That joint letter highlighted, “It has come to our attention through Ms. Sylvia McAdam that your government has allowed Sakaw Askiy Management Inc. to clearcut traditional treaty land and that Sylvia McAdam is currently trying to protect her family’s hunting lands from their clearcut by being present on the land. It is our belief as well as by others that by your complicity in the letting of the Forest Management Area permits, you are violating the Treaty terms and promises by allowing this logging company to clearcut any hunting lands without the consent of Treaty peoples. In this case, the traditional hunting lands are held by the McAdam family.”

For photos, videos, additional context and ongoing updates, please go to McAdam’s Facebook page here.