The Red Earth Cree Nation in northeastern Saskatchewan has asked the federal government to send in the Canadian Rangers to help continue the search for missing five-year-old Frank Young.
Chief Fabian Head says it is still waiting for a response from Ottawa about the Rangers, which are part of the Canadian Army Reserve.
APTN News asked Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) and the military whether this was being considered, but didn’t hear back by the time this story was published.
For Saskatchewan, the duty would fall to the 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group which covers western Canada and has about a thousand members spread out from B.C. to Manitoba.
Indigenous groups say they have also asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe to send immediate help.
In an emailed statement to APTN, ISC confirmed the community requested help through the Non-Insured Health Benefits program and “additional therapists are providing support to the community.”
ISC “continues to work alongside the community to ensure that appropriate levels of mental wellness supports are readily available as the residents of Red Earth and surrounding communities require,” said ISC spokesperson Nicolas Moquin.
“Resources are available through the Emergency Management Assistance Program and relevant information on how to access interim community supports has been shared with the First Nation and Prince Albert Grand Council.”
Frank disappeared from the First Nation 28 days ago, and those involved in the search say they are running out of resources.
Chief Marcel Head of neighbouring Shoal Lake Cree Nation says searchers need mental health supports and more equipment, including boats, all-terrain vehicles, fuel and boots.
Two hundred volunteers remain on the ground and between five and eight RCMP boats are searching the Carrot River at any given time. A police helicopter has been on the scene every second day.
Searchers have had to contend with high river levels due to snowmelt in the Pasqua Hills as well as wet, muddy and cold conditions.
About 92 square km in and around the reserve have also been searched and then searched again.
RCMP Sgt. Richard Tonge said last week large portions of the river had been covered, but there’s been no confirmed sighting of the boy.
He says crews won’t stop until Frank is found, but they are getting tired.
A province-wide Missing Vulnerable Person alert was also ended this past week.
There have been more than 600 sign-ins to a check-in book at the search headquarters since the formal search began at Red Earth Cree Nation.
Chief Head said they’re very grateful for all the support that has been shown.
The last time the family saw Frank Young was around lunchtime on April 19. He was still wearing his dinosaur pajamas, a blue windbreaker, and Paw Patrol rubber boots.
With files from the Canadian Press