A northern Manitoba First Nation says it wants government support in its bid to buy a rail line and the Port of Churchill, but it's not releasing details.

Mathias Colomb Cree Nation's chief, Arlen Dumas, said negotiations are ongoing, and he is confident his community has what's needed to run both. 

The community and Denver-based OmniTrax announced in early January they have entered into sale negotiations involving the Hudson Bay rail line and the Port of Churchill.

Keewatin Railway Company, another First Nations-run rail line, will help Mathias Colomb make the purchase Dumas said, but he is also asking for help from the provincial and federal governments, noting both have a responsibility to help First Nations succeed.

Although Dumas said he is not in a position to say how much money he is asking for, the purchase is about more than just profits.

"Our main focus is the people," Dumas said on Friday.

"I want to make sure that the people in War Lake and the people in Split Lake and the people in Gillam … have access to the railway ... How do we make sure they're able to transport goods?"

Buying the rail line and the port will add up to more economic opportunities for people in northern Manitoba, said Dumas, and Merv Tweed, president of OmniTrax, said he has always believed local ownership was the key to success.

For some remote communities, the rail line is the only way to access the rest of Manitoba.

There is no word on when the sale will be final.

with files from The Canadian Press