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Across Canada, several First Nations have been impacted by wildfires raging across the country.
Dan Karpenchuk reports on one battle in northern Alberta.
The fire raging near Fort Chipewyan near Lake Athabasca in northeastern Alberta has already destroyed several cabins.
Mikisew Cree chief Billy Joe Tuccaro share the news with his community after taking an aerial tour of the fire.
He says the homes lost were part of the Devil’s Gate reserve.
“It’s been a tough day. I can’t believe what’s going on, but we will be here in regards to doing everything to protect everybody.”
Meanwhile firefighters from British Columbia, Yukon, and the United States have already arrived in the region and over the past couple of days, more than 200 firefighters arrived from South Africa.
They too will deploy to parts of northern Alberta.
And Chief Tuccaro says he’s been assured by Ottawa that any cabins that were lost at Devil’s Gate will be rebuilt.
He’s also asked the federal government for military firefighting personnel, resources, and equipment.
The out of control fire near Fort Chipewyan has grown aggressively for several days.
The Mikisew First Nation, Fort Chiepwyan Metis Nation, and the Athabaska First Nation were evacuated a week ago.
Chief Allan Adam of the Fort Chipewayn Metis Nation says it’s been an emotional few days and fighting back tears. He added: “we’re in Mother Nature’s hands.”
There are about 50 wildfires in Alberta, about a dozen of them out of control.
Land in northeastern Washington purchased by the Kalispel Tribe for new tribal housing produced an unexpected find – rock ovens that were built 5,000 years ago.
Steve Jackson reports an excavation is now underway to uncover more secrets of that ancient era.
Kalispel tribal archaeologist Kevin Lyons says analysis of the leftover charcoal at the site near the Pend Oreille River is providing insight into the diet and culture of the ancient people who lived there.
“Salmon had to be imported, or brought up from the Little Spokane, but this is 3,000 years ago, so it’s pre-horse, people are packing this around dried and processed. Most of the bitter root came from the channel scablands or Montana. That’s a long walk. These folks were connected to very distant places early on.”
Lyons says the tribe decided to partner with Washington State University for the excavation.
Archaeology professor Shannon Tushingham says field school students from WSU and other schools are getting valuable experience in what is called Cultural Resource management, an industry where archaeologists are called on for assessments in advance of construction projects.
“So there’s archaeologists who work for the Bureau of Land Management, the Forest Service, all of these agencies, and they need people. What’s happening now with the infrastructure bill, there’s a huge need for trained archaeologists, and very few trained archaeologists, especially after Covid, I haven’t been able to have a field school for four years.”
Tushingham says the students are also learning to communicate more effectively with tribal members – something archaeologists haven’t always prioritized.
Researchers will work to document as much of the ancient Kalispel site as they can before the housing development is completed.
In preparation for hurricane season, the United Houma Nation is holding a drive-thru bundled items event this week for tribal citizens.
Items have been donated to the tribe and will be given out, including food, hurricane preparedness kits, and feminine hygiene products.
The distribution will take place Saturday in Houma, La.
The majority of the tribe’s 19,000 citizens live along the coastal bayous of southeast Louisiana, which has been hit hard by hurricanes.
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