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Pukatawagan News Stories


Pukatawagan and surrounding communities face many challenges, social, political, and economic. The news summaries below, organised by topic, reflect that reality. The rationale behind their inclusion is the belief that the school and its students need to be aware of local challenges and add their voices to discussion on how best to address them. In order to contribute, however, students need to be critical thinkers, able to sift through information and make sense of it. Therefore, the following news summaries are designed to model critical thinking through analysis. Each article has been reviewed and summarised with the following questions in mind. How informative is it? Does it clarify issues? Does the writer display bias? Are any questions left unanswered? What new information is revealed? How does it add to the topic at hand? Is the reader left hanging?



  • 21 April 2010: "First Nation hopes dispute over diesel leak is resolved
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21 April 2010: “First Nation hopes dispute over diesel leak is resolved” [Winnipeg Free Press, B2]

A dispute over an oil spill at Pukatawagan twenty-three years ago may be nearing resolution. In a news report by Aldo Santin, it states that “community representatives made their case for a $30-million redevelopment proposal for their community at Pukatawagan and now the federal government needs time to consider the proposal.” This would end an outstanding lawsuit “stemming from the damage caused by a catastrophic diesel fuel leak in the community in the mid-1980.” The damage caused by that disaster resulted in “the demolition of most of the community’s main buildings.” Although the lawsuit was initiated in 1997, it went nowhere, until the election of Chief Arlen Dumas in October 2008. Chief Dumas decided on a new approach, offering to drop the lawsuit “in exchange for discussions that could result in a settlement.”

The band created a “comprehensive infrastructure redevelopment” proposal for the federal government to “build 2 four-bedroom homes, a community centre and administrative complex, indoor recreational facilities and several outdoor playgrounds, senior facilities and upgraded community television and radio facilities.” Band representatives met with federal officials in April and expected a reply by July. “Dumas said he doesn’t regret taking an alternative approach to dealing with Ottawa to resolve the issue, adding he still expects the Harper government to deal in good faith with the community.”

Discussion: Consider the scope of the band’s proposal. What evidence is there that the Chief and Council considered the needs of the entire community in coming up with their recommendations. Lawsuits are sometimes the only way to get attention for grievances. However, they can be drawn-out affairs that cost everyone a great deal of money. Why might Chief Dumas’s approach be more effective? What are the advantages of turning an adversarial process into a mutual problem-solving venture? Review “A New Sheriff in Puk” for insights into the roll of Chief Dumas in this new approach. Stay tuned for developments. We may have a solution to this long-standing dispute by July 2010!

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Last updated: May 7, 2010




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