Pelican Lake and Witchekan Lake First Nations in northern Saskatchewan joined a new limited partnership with B.C. logging company Tolko to launch Kitaskinaw Enterprises on Friday.
The partnership aims to develop the Pelican Lake and Witchekan Lake First Nations’ expertise as logging contractors and to open up business opportunities in sustainable forestry.
“Building businesses helps ensure the long-term success of our people in jobs and in guiding future developments,” Witchekan Lake First Nation Chief Anne Thomas said.
“We are pleased to make this investment with Tolko and Pelican Lake.”
Kitaskinaw, meaning “our land” in Cree, is to affirm the importance of the ties to the land for the Pelican Lake and Witchekan Lake First Nations.
“Our land has sustained many generations and this partnership helps ensure our continued influence today and in the future, Pelican Lake First Nation Chief Peter Bill said.
“Land protection, culture, reforestation, renewable energy, and jobs for our land and people is critical.” Bill said the new partnership will help with achieving those goals.
“We’re pleased to launch Kitaskinaw with Pelican Lake and Witchekan Lake First Nations,” Tolko President and CEO Brad Thorlakson said.
“The Nations have a strong vision that will strengthen Tolko in the Meadow Lake region and help ensure long-term business success and sustainability.”
The joint venture will initially focus on the development of a logging company with long-term growth in harvesting, biomass, and silviculture.
This includes training for Indigenous youth and women, both on-reserve and off-reserve, in both forestry and mill positions as well as other future business opportunities such as trucking.