June 3, 2020
Dear Honorable Minister Dreeshen and Minister Wilson,
RE: Province Hiring Additional Firefighters – Treaty 8 Territory
I am writing to you on behalf of the Sovereign Treaty 8 Chiefs who have expressed their concern with the lack of your government’s support to the economy within our communities. It is imperative that the Government of Alberta works directly and strategically with our First Nations to secure employment and contract opportunities for our First Nation members, local businesses, and contractors.
Our Nations are prepared with available resources such as human capacity, local contractors, and heavy equipment to provide emergency services in battling any disaster that impacts our communities and our lands. The Government of Alberta must ensure all Albertans remain safe during fire season and our First Nation communities have a workforce more than capable of supporting forest and wildfire contract and employment opportunities. COVID-19 is expected to peak, and extra cautions must be taken to reduce risks and potential spreading of the pandemic, which would mean utilizing local resources for the safety of our people and communities.
Last year, many of our Nations and local contractors watched the fires bum in our territory while the Government of Alberta poached firefighters from neighboring provinces, this is no longer acceptable and we will not allow this to happen without exhausting all local capacity first.
In the event of another disaster in the Treaty 8 territory, the Government of Alberta must ensure that every effort is made to protect our peoples, our communities, and our lands. Alberta’s response and preventative measures must include the Treaty 8 Sovereign First Nation members, local business, contractors, and equipment to combat disasters that develop in our territory. This would also be an opportunity and direct effort to address some of the unemployment rates and minimize the socioeconomic impacts within our communities.
Flood and fire season have embarked upon us and immediate action must be taken. Please have your office contact us for available meeting times by Monday June 8th, 2020.
Thank you in advance for your expedient action on this matter. We look forward to hearing from you.
Treaty 8 First Nations of Alberta