The Sahtu Secretariat is calling on the federal government to boost the funding that the region's renewable resource councils receive to distribute country foods to residents.
Ethel Blondin-Andrew, chair of the Sahtu Secretariat, says the funding, which is currently $80,000 a year, hasn't been increased since the Sahtu Dene and Métis Comprehensive Land Claim was signed in 1993.
"That's where people really cut costs is by [receiving] a supplemental diet of country foods," said Blondin-Andrew.
The call for more funding came during a Friday meeting about the Nutrition North program in Norman Wells, N.W.T.,with Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. The meeting was attended by around 50 residents of the Sahtu region, Blondin said.
The Sahtu Secretariat once again called for federal funding for the Wrigley to Norman Wells portion of the Mackenzie Valley Highway.
"Our families should be able to take their children out and go out and compete within their area of expertise, which is sports and music and arts," said Blondin.
"They don't have the opportunity if they have a large family because airline costs are so prohibitive."
Of Bennett's visit, Blondin said, "It's good that she came to [the] Sahtu because we are isolated."
A statement from Bennett issued Monday said she and Parliamentary Secretary Yvonne Jones met with representatives of the Sahtu Dene and Métis and the Inuvialuit, Northwest Territories MP Michael McLeod, and registered Nutrition North Canada retailers in Norman Wells about the Nutrition North program.
"We are taking all of the feedback we are receiving into account and will work with northern remote communities to ensure that the program is more transparent, effective, and accountable to Northerners and other Canadians," she said in the statement.