TRIBAL CHIEFS VENTURES INC. PROJECTS & INITIATIVES
SOIL INGESTION IN PEOPLE FOLLOWING TRADITIONAL LIFESTYLES
This study was conducted by TCV, in conjunction with the University of Ottawa, during the fiscal year of 2011/2012. The study was conducted at English Bay at Cold Lake First Nations during August 2012 with 7 members of the TCV member First Nations. Dr. Jules Blais, Graham Irvine and Jamie Doyle of the University of Ottawa were the principle researchers involved in the project. Funding for this project was received from Health Canada under the National First Nations Environmental Contaminants Program to study the trends of human exposure to environmental contaminants and to develop baseline human bio monitoring data on First Nations exposure to persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals. The preliminary conclusion of the study was ‘that exposure to contaminants by soils in the Cold Lake region is an unlikely hazard to residents of the Cold Lake First Nation’ . However, Dr. Blais’ group will be doing further analysis of the results in 2013. TCV is anticipating doing a further study to determine air quality contaminants or water quality contaminants and the effects on the members of the First Nations.
SPECIFIC CLAIMS – AGRICULTURAL BENEFITS (“COWS AND PLOWS”)
In 2009, TCV proceeded with the initial research and legal opinions for Agricultural Benefits Treaty Claims for the TCV member First Nations. By the end of June 2012, Dr. Derek Whitehouse-Strong completed the research and provided reports to the six member First Nations. Garry Laboucan of Ackroyd LLP assisted the member First Nations with the initial legal opinions of their claims for the Agricultural Benefits detailed in Treaty No. 6. Each member First Nation Chief and Council members are directing their legal counsel to continue their claims on an individual First Nation basis.
HEART LAKE BISON RANCH
In 2003, the TCV member First Nations acquired 57 head of endangered wood bison from Elk Island National Park that are currently situated at the Heart Lake First Nation because of the compatible habitat. There have been ‘ups and downs’ with the health of the herd, but it is now showing signs of success as the herd size is increasing. TCV has recently received approval for funding to continue with improvements to the habitat for the wood bison, in particular for grazing pastures and handling facilities.
Chiefs of TCVI and Chiefs of the Yellowhead Tribal Council entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Minister of Environment, Government of Alberta, on January 23, 2008. Since that time an operating plan has been developed each year to gather and provide information on a government to government basis through joint dialogue with TCV, YTC and GOA – Ministry of Environment. A recent example of this is the Water workshop that was held last March where information was exchanged by the First Nations and the Government. Presentations were made by Alberta on various topics such as cumulative effects, wetlands and water allocation while First Nations presented on the water issues and challenges being experienced within their communities. Currently, efforts are underway to achieve tangible future outcomes through revision of the MOU and negotiations for inclusion of action items to establish First Nation-government tables for water, land and biodiversity.
As a result of this MOU, TCV and YTC have held joint tribal council meetings to address environmental issues of common concern, as well as Chiefs/Minister of Environment meetings to discuss the political strategies required to further the MOU.
The current MOU is coming to an end and is being negotiated for renewal. The new MOU will include the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Development which will therefore include land tables with the water table strategy. A Chiefs/Minister of Environment meeting is being tentatively scheduled for September 2012 to discuss the MOU renewal and a proposed Political Accord to assist the technical working group with advancing the operating plan.