Pictured above: Children from Brochet receiving treats provided by the Northern store, distributed by Barren Lands First Nation organizers
Residents of Brochet, MB, came together to show their support for the Seal Watershed Initiative, participating in a community-wide fishing derby on July 31.
Barren Lands First Nation (Brochet) has been working closely with Sayisi Dene First Nation (Tadoule Lake), Northlands Denesuline First Nation (Lac Brochet) and O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation (South Indian Lake) in the Seal River Watershed Initiative – led by Sayisi Dene First Nation, as an effort to protect 50,000 square kilometres from destructive mining, logging and industry.
Brochet’s Band organized the Fishing Derby to show their support and to raise awareness of the Seal River Watershed Initiative in their community. With hundreds of participants pouring in for the chance to win a variety of prizes, word spread like wildfire about the efforts being undertaken by Sayisi Dene First Nation and their neighbours surrounding the Seal River Watershed to protect the lands for future generations.
The residents of Brochet showed their support for the initiative by signing surveys provided by their Band office during the derby, while the Brochet Northern store donated snacks and treats and a gift card to help boost turnout numbers.
“It was great to help out and see the kids having a good time today,” said Al Nanji, Brochet Northern Store Manager. “We’re grateful to be able to do something for the community, especially if it means helping the environment for everyone in the future.”
Culturally, the Seal River Watershed is significant to Inuit, Dene, and Cree peoples sharing the land as a place tied to their ancestry. Environmentally, it is an immense ecosystem the size of Nova Scotia, untouched by any form of industrial development, which holds one of Canada’s largest reservoirs of fresh water – a commodity growing more precious by the day, making it a vital location for migratory birds, caribou and all kinds of freshwater fish.
The end goal of the Seal River Watershed Initiative is to permanently designate the region as an Indigenous Protected Area (IPA), which would entail elevated rights and responsibilities to Indigenous groups in matters regarding environmental stewardship and self-determination.