December 4, 2019

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Kashechewan FN Declares a State of Emergency over Spring Break-Up

May 4, 2016

 

(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

year.

 

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

at grandchief@mushkegowuk.ca

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