|Despite intentions to conduct land use planning before development on the East Side of Lake Winnipeg, the Manitoba government is proceeding with plans for another cottage development on a significant First Nation sacred site.
Located on the Winnipeg River, in the traditional territory of Sagkeeng First Nation, the site includes original riverbank and upland boreal forest habitat for several listed and endangered species. Despite this First Nation sacred site containing significant petroforms also including some of the last remaining intact riparian forest along the Winnipeg River, the urgency to protect the site is being ignored. Land use plans and traditional occupancy studies have not been undertaken, and provincial and Aboriginal archeological reviews have barely begun.
Instead of investigating fully first, and listening to the majority of local residents who are opposed to the cottage development, the Manitoba government is continuing the cottage development process.
Cottage development is also in conflict with Manitoba's Heritage Resources Act. According to the government's own web site, "[u]nder terms of this law, it is illegal to collect, move or alter objects of archaeological or heritage significance..."
Manitoba Wildlands director Gaile Whelan Enns observed, "There are no protected lands along the Winnipeg River. This situation looks like the government is forgetting its own commitments for land use planning and protected areas - while avoiding its responsibilities for petroforms."
View the September 14, 2005 First Nation Elders, Silver Falls Concerned Residents, and Manitoba Wildlands press release (DOC)
View the September 12, 2005 background document on the Silver Falls West Sacred Site (DOC)
View the September 15, 2005 Canadian Press article (DOC)
View the September 16, 2005 Winnipeg Sun article (DOC)
View Manitoba Wildlands Map of Silver Falls and Sagkeeng First Nation Area
Visit the Government of Manitoba web page on Manitoba Petroforms
Sources: First Nation Elders, Silver Falls Concerned Residents, Manitoba Wildlands, Government of Manitoba