Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh commends Kenora Chiefs Advisory and Wauzhushk Onigum Nation
Kenora, ON – On Thursday July 19, 2018, Wabaseemoong Independent Nations declared a state of emergency because a fire known as ‘Kenora Fire 71’ continues to burn approximately 20 kilometer away from the community.
Over 70 residents were evacuated from the community. 50 of the evacuees were housed at various facilities in Wauzhushk Onigum Nation (WON), including the gymnasium, community centre and the Youth and Elders’ building. 20 residents are being housed in local hotels with the cost being covered by the Kenora Chiefs Advisory (KCA). The government of Wabseemoong Independent Nations operated transportation for the evacuees and evacuation vehicles continued from the late night until the early morning to ensure the safety of the residents.
The community members of Wauzhushk Onigum Nation have generously provided donations of linens, air mattresses, fans, toiletries and food to the evacuees. Medical professionals from Waasegiizhig Nanaandawe’iyewigamig Health Access Centre (WNHAC) were present the day after the evacuation, and all the evacuees have now been medically cleared. Wauzhushk Onigum Nation community members cooked hot meals for the evacuees while KCA staff organized games and activities for the children.
Ogichidaa Francis Kavanaugh commends the leaders for their quick thinking and praises the successful collaborative efforts of the First Nation partners involved. He further encourages all of our Treaty partners to consider assisting in outreach efforts to relieve the staff of KCA, WON and WNHAC who have been working around the clock since the evacuation on July 19, 2018.
Ogichidaa noted that “the City of Kenora is not a recognized evacuation site and does not have accommodations set up for emergencies such as these, or the benefit of access to necessary support from entities such as the Red Cross. Kenora Fire 71 has taught us that there is an immediate need for reciprocal protocols between all of our local Agencies, as well as the need for the political will to ensure that local evacuation sites are designated in the future. I will ensure that my office follows-up to launch a political advocacy table.”
The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is expected to update the status of Kenora Fire 71 on Monday July 23, 2018.
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Grand Council Treaty #3 is the traditional government of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty #3. The Treaty #3 territory spans over 55,000 sq miles in Northwestern Ontario and into Southeastern Manitoba.
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