Kashechewan First Nation declares state of emergency

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The evacuation of 2500 residents of the Kashechewan First Nation will start on Monday. The spring freshet is forcing the evacuation of the aboriginal community on James Bay in northern Ontario this year.

Children, young families and seniors will start leaving the village on Monday and evacuations will continue throughout the week, according to the Department of Aboriginal Services.

Cornwall, Thunder Bay, Kapuskasing and Timmins will host the evacuees.

The scenario has been repeated since 2005 in this First Nation, which has declared a state of emergency.

Community members voiced their frustration this week by saying they were ready to move without the help of the federal government.

What does it take to benefit from an expedited process [to relocate]? wonders Jonathan Solomon, the grand chief of the Mushkegowuk council, which includes Kashechewan and six other nations. Are there going to be deaths? That’s what they expect? It frustrates the community.

Minister of Aboriginal Services Seamus O’Regan said the commitment to a long-term plan for moving the community has not changed .

Right now, we’re working with community members on the technical aspects of the move, for example, the purchase of land or whatever, and these things take time, a little more than we would like.

 Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Aboriginal Services

In the meantime, our staff and community leaders are in constant communication to ensure, once again, that this move takes place without clash , concluded the Minister.

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