Three northwestern Ontario First Nation communities close to the Ring of Fire have signed participatory agreements with Wisk Air Helicopters of Thunder Bay for helicopter services within their traditional territories.
The memorandums of understanding are with Mikawaa (Marten Falls), Eabametoong (Fort Hope), and Webequie First Nations.
The multi-year agreements with each community are considered confidential.
Wisk Air has agreed to provide training opportunities in forest firefighting, drilling and helicopter ground crews, skills that are considered transferable to other aviation and mining companies.
"These agreements recognize that the rightful stakeholders and landholders, who are clearly the First Nations, are a vital component to the management and development of all projects in their region," said Wisk Air president Mark Wiskemann in a May 29 release.
Wisk Air Helicopters has been working in the Ring of Fire since 2007.
"What we see is the relationship has been great,” said Charlie Okeese, Eabametoong band councillor. “It continues to be, to us, more meaningful by showing mutual respect and the level of commitment shown by the actions of Wisk Air and that's what we see - this is real."