(May 4, 2016, Kashechewan, Ontario) On April 27, 2016, members of the Kashechewan
First Nation Chief and Council signed a Declaration of Emergency because of the annual
spring break up of the Albany River. This decision was and is based on a Hatch Engineering
Report whereby Hatch declared the Dike System to be an intolerable risk to the community.
The Dike is supposed to protect the community from damage from water and ice of the
spring breakup but does not conform to any safety standard. Chief Leo Friday says that this
Declaration is to protect the health and safety of his People. Government Officials have
been aware of the findings of the Hatch report but the situation has not been remedied.
Since the beginning of the evacuation, members of Kashechewan are scattered all over the
Province, in the towns of Kapuskasing, Thunder Bay, Wawa and Smooth Rock Fall. Over 800
people have been moved to this date.
Since 2008, the Chief and Council engaged with the Government of Canada to do a Far Field
Study on the future of imminent flooding and also the future of Kashechewan. Chief and
Council of Kashechewan First Nation expect the draft final report of that study to be
presented to Kashechewan First Nation by June 2016.
Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon of Mushkegowuk Council applauds the leadership of
Kashechewan First Nation for making the call to declare a state of emergency for the
wellbeing of the People of Kashechewan and urges the Government of Canada to work with
Kashechewan First Nation to develop a permanent solution to the ongoing issue year after
Grand Chief Solomon says that “I will fully support the Chief, Council and Community of
Kashechewan in their vision of a more sustainable future as a community. Having to be
displaced every spring creates an unhealthy environment and to be separated from your
family and home produces a lot of strain.”
There is growing unrest with the leadership and community members due to the current
and historic grievances that the community has filed with the government but still no real
sustainable action is seen. The Leadership’s desire is to have a discussion with Government
of Canada on the following points:
1. The Kashechewan First Nation deserves a safe community.
2. The Kashechewan First Nation desires to be out of the flood zone and seeks a
permanent fix and resolution.
The Leadership of the Kashechewan First Nation demands that the federal and provincial
governments meet immediately to begin addressing the above points.
Solomon says that as a Grand Chief, “I implore the Government of Canada and the Government
of Ontario to establish a table to start discussing this ongoing problem and find a final resolution
that is tangible for the wellbeing of the community of Kashechewan.“
The Kashechewan First Nation is a remote community on the west coast of James Bay with a
population of 1,800 on reserve and a total population of 2,300 and is approximately 600
kilometers north of Timmins, Ontario.
For further enquiries contact Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon: 705-363-7122 (cell) or email