Ottawa has earmarked $2.6 million for families leaving for camps and cabins on the land amid the pandemic.
The funds aim to lower the financial hurdles preventing some families from going onto the land, a territorial government news release said on Monday. Administered through Indigenous governments, the money will go to costs like transportation, fuel, food, and medical equipment.
“Being on the land is our way of life,” Dene National Chief Norman Yakelaya, who has recently self-isolated in a cabin near Beaver Lake and pushed for more on the land supports, said in the news release.
“With the closing of the schools, this is also an opportunity for families and their children to learn more about our culture and traditions and what has sustained us as Dene people for thousands of years,” he said.
The federal funding will go toward the following governments: Akaitcho Territory Government, Dehcho First Nations, Gwich’in Tribal Council, NWT Métis Nation, Sahtu Secretariat Incorporated, Tlicho Government, K’atl’odeeche First Nation, Acho Dene Koe First Nation, Salt River First Nation and Deline Got’ıine Government.
For residents harvesting while on the land, environment and natural resource officers will still conduct regular patrols and enforce the no harvest zone for the Bathurst caribou herd, the news release said.