Saskatchewan Métis want more say in managing the Nisbet Provincial Forest which, they say, is being destroyed by logging and livestock.
At a weekend conference on forest use, the Métis planted a flag in the area to symbolize their strong historical ties to the forest that surrounds Prince Albert and Duck Lake.
John Boucher, a Saskatchewan Métis Nationsenator,says the province has done a poor job of maintaining thefragile forest and its health is in danger due toclear-cutting and cattle grazing.
"Governments have not run this properly, and the fruits of their running it are there to see and it's not good," Boucher told CBC News.
"The whole ecosystem, the water — even the water is being polluted by the animals because they are being allowed to drink right in the creeks."
Métis Nation presidentRobert Doucettesays the Métis have a legitimate claim to the area.
"They have to be respectful of the fact that we still have traditional aboriginal rights and we are traditional users, and we've retained that from generation to generation, and that's something that's not going to go away,"Doucette says.
The Métis want the province to form a committee to look at the forest's use.
They also planto formtheir own committee to examine the issue.