Nation-Based Sovereign-Based Government

Meeting with Minister Seamus O’Regan on Friday, October 19, 2019 regarding October 11, 2019 Storm and First Nations Affected

October 20, 2019

Winnipeg, Treaty 1 Territory – The Government of First Nations in Treaty 2 Territory attended the meeting with Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) Minister Seamus O’Regan providing the current situation and perspectives.

“We must persevere through our way of life. We need to look after ourselves.”

The relationship and attitudes with ISC staff has to change.

Negotiations and discussions for what we need is falling on deaf ears. But our elders are stating that as long as you have the water and the land and a stove you’ll be ok. 

We were dictated to, we couldn’t wait 72 hours for a state of emergency to be called. I was plowing with my truck, we live 72 kms from the first town, we have a plow but they think so little of our equipment, Manitoba and Canada dictates to us in terms of how we should be living.

With hundreds living on the reserves and having to be evacuated, there has been a lot of frustration and stress. People need pampers for their children.  We didn’t get much help from the ISC Regional office with responses like “I’ll see what I can do”. We should have been dealing directly with Ottawa – there has to be a serious change from the regional office. We need to develop a Emergency Plan. 

Our Nation has been in Winnipeg since 2011 due to the flood. The government always figures a way to starve us out. The Department (ISC) has failed us time and time again. Manitoba Hydro told us they aren’t compensating anything, that this is an act of god – this is quality and workmanship “work of man”. We have been dealing with artificial flooding since the 60’s and Canada has been watching. Canada failed to protect the interests of the people. The First Nations should have the exclusive rights to deal with Canada directly.

We are appalled at devastation in our communities. We do have true warriors/leaders. Woodstoves were requested for the flood replacement house and the Nation was denied. Instead we are facing racism in Winnipeg. Pools are shut down because of the color of our skin. Red Cross failed us just like MANFF failed us. 

Minister Seamus O’Regan responded that there are glaringly obvious issues with emergency response management. We have made some in roads. We have to do this meaningfully here.  The control should be with the First Nations. First Nations know the territory – “you will always do a better job when you do the work on the ground. The bureaucracy piled on top of each other. CFS is also an underlying principle that was noted by the Minister in that it belongs with the Nations. The reimbursements and deficiencies will be addressed as quickly as possible. We need to bring the decision-making down to the Nations.

Last modified: October 21, 2019

Comments are closed.