The province is giving the Wabanong Nakaygum Okimawin (WNO) Council of Chiefs $2.5 million over five years for land-use planning in their traditional area on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.
“Traditional land-use planning will assist First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples with mapping burial and other traditional sites, as well as planning how to best use lands and resources within their nations,” Conservation Minister Stan Struthers said in a news release Friday.
The WNO council of chiefs (formerly known as the East Side Planning Initiative) has already received $500,000 from the province, the first of five payments it will receive between now and 2011.
The WNO is attempting to create a broad-area plan for the east side that will protect the environment and to generate resource development ideas that are sustainable.
The Doer government and some of the First Nations have been lobbying for a World Heritage Site in the area and Doer has ruled out building a new high-voltage power corridor through the east side forest from northern dams.
“The priority for First Nations and Aboriginal Peoples is the well-being of its people, protecting traditional ceremonies and practices, and making sure the land is properly cared for,” WNO chiefs council chairman Nelson Keeper said in the news release.
“This agreement will help to ensure all these priorities are met.”