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Controversy surrounds land sale at Fur Lake
The Mistawasis First Nation is interested in purchasing protected lakefront Crown land near Shellbrook with plans to build cabins and develop the lakefront property as a way to create jobs and revenue for its community. While a portion of the region is already developed, the land in question is protected under the provincial Wildlife Habitat Protection Act. The First Nation has received support from the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations and the Saskatoon Tribal Council to purchase and develop the 28,000 acres. A management plan was created for the land, which sits in the transition zone between aspen parkland and the boreal forest, in the mid-1990s, indicating that there is a “high habitat capability for wildlife” including black bear, beaver, coyote, mink, otter, muskrat and wolf and northern flying squirrel. There is also an “abundant bird population” ranging from ducks to grebes to great-crested flycatchers. The Fur Lakes purchase would be funded with part of the band’s $17-million specific claim settlement. In 2001, the band received the money as compensation for the forced surrender of large portions of its land base between 1911 and 1919.
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