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McKay Métis continue to make history

Last Updated Nov 27, 2018 at 1:10 pm MST

PHOTO. Supplied. Fort McKay Métis announced on Nov. 27, 2018 that it has acquired a second piece of land located northwest of the community.

The McKay Métis announced Tuesday that they’ve made another land acquisition.

The resort located at Island Lake, which is within Birch Mountains Wildland Provincial Park. It includes cabins, boats and other assets, was purchased for around $525,000.

The 10 acres of land and thousands of acres of water has been leased from the province for two years.

McKay Métis President Ron Quintal said the goal for the land is that it create a space for traditional uses including hunting, trapping and fishing since their traditional lands have been disturbed by the oilsands.

“Our people, for generations to come, will have a place that is ours to trap, to fish, to hunt and to convene with nature.”

Quintal was clear that the McKay Métis do not oppose development or economic growth, but rather that they’ve embraced it and succeeded at it to protect and promote their way of life.

The land is accessible via a partially developed road and by plane. The land comes with an airstrip that will allow those to fly out of the Fort McMurray International Airport and arrive in about 25 minutes.

Both elders and young members of the community expressed excitement about being able to connect with a land that is their own.

Tisha Whitford, a 21 year-old member of the community, said she hasn’t had many opportunities to learn about traditions like hunting and trapping. This land will give her those opportunities.

Glen Faichney, Vice President of the McKay Métis board said they now have a place “not only to teach, but to practice,” while the youngest board member, Felix Faichney said he’s excited to teach his son.

The resort is being paid for through a combination of cash and loan.