Papaschase First Nation adopts new drone technology for farming and security

A group of people from the Papaschase First Nation and Papaschase Security Services stand behind a large drone while it sits idle on a small helipad. Weather is clear.
Representatives from the Papaschase First Nation and Papaschase Security Services pose behind their large drone. Photo by Ryan Hunt.
Ryan Hunt - CFWE - EdmontonAL | 25-05-2023
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The Papaschase First Nation and Papaschase Security Services are now using drone technology to complete jobs like field fertilization, water sampling, search and rescue and improving the quality of life for members of the Papaschase First Nation.

Papaschase Security Services held an event on May 24 to celebrate the adoption of the new technology, where they showcased three drones: one small one with a camera for general surveillance worth $500; a medium sized one with a thermal camera and a speaker on it for the purpose of search and rescue worth around $5,000; and a large one capable of autonomously flying over fields and fertilizing farmlands that is worth $25,000.

Elder Fernie Marty of the Papaschase First Nation was at the event representing his community and spoke to CFWE about the technology.

"[Papaschase Security Services] has trained a couple of pilots from Papaschase First Nation...and now they're successful drone pilots. Just a tremendous thing," he said.

One of the messages conveyed at the showcase was the ease of flying drones and how individuals can quickly learn. Marty had a chance to take the biggest drone for a flight himself and had a similar experience.

"It was a thrill! I never thought I'd have the ability [to fly a drone]. It was so great to fly one of those, beautiful to have that experience. I thought 'hey, I'd like to learn how to do this," Marty said.

Elder Fernie Marty taking a large drone for a flight, with a pilot standing next to him. In the background, there's an orange windsock and some apartment buildings in the distance. Weather is clear.

Elder Fernie Marty taking a drone for a flight. Photo by Ryan Hunt.

When it comes to community impact and what this type of technology can do for his people, Elder Marty said that he sees a lot of potential.

"It's the way of the future. Seeding crops, a lot quicker and more efficiently, spraying mosquitos, land locations, I think it's just tremendous to have that knowledge, and where that knowledge can be passed on to future generations, and where it can be shared," he said.

Listen to the full CFWE interview with Elder Fernie Marty: