Hunters being subsidized
First Nations receive funding to sustain tradition

Kirsten Larsen
Northern News Services

NNSL (Dec 07/98) - Hunting and trapping on the land can be expensive with the cost of supplies and transportation, but this year it will be a little easier for some.

First Nation hunters and trappers are being encouraged to continue their tradition with assistance from a funding program initiated by the federal government.

The government has set up a three-year program to provide First Nations bands with funds to assist their communities' hunters and trappers.

The Western Harvesters Assistance Fund can be used by bands in a variety of ways to sustain, or encourage hunting and trapping in the community.

The Dogrib Rae Band is designating the fund to go towards the Rae-Edzo airstrip and airport development project. Band manager John Ivy said the project is addressing the needs of the community which includes the needs of the hunters and trappers.

"This is coming from the direction of the community," said Ivy. "With the airstrip, the planes can expedite trappers to the trap line from here."

Gameti First Nation is directing the majority of the funds allotted be available to subsidize individuals purchasing hunting and trapping equipment or supplies.

"Most of the applications are (to subsidize) Ski-Dos," said Lana Paulson, band manager for Gameti First Nation. "There are also (applications for) tents and outboard motors. We have about 12 applications already. We're expecting about 50-70."

The band is also planning to use approximately $2,000 of the funds to purchase two boats and a generator for community use on the barren lands.

"We have boats out on the barrens for community use already, but this will allow us to own them," said Paulson.

The amount of funds available to each First Nation band is determined on a per capita basis. In order to receive the funds the band must match the funding dollar for dollar with non-government money.

The funds are distributed to community individuals or for community projects after applications are evaluated and approved. The bands receive the approved applications and distribute the funds. Applicants are only funded up to half of the cost of a purchase or project.