FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 4, 2020
Interlake Reserves Tribal Council (IRTC) and its member communities continue to feel the disregard and failing response from both Provincial and Federal governments. Dealing with the current pandemic, lack of funding to address self isolation and overcrowded housing makes it difficult to respect and maintain health procedures, while many other long-standing issues remain unresolved.
“This failure to provide funding combined with a reactive approach from the Federal government has left our communities in crisis. Our communities are starting to see a surge in COVID cases, and we have been left out of the picture to discuss the solutions needed to implement and maintain successful health protocols” says Chairman Cornell McLean. “We need to be a part of the process in order for it to work, we need to protect our members; now.”
Too many government processes and civil servants within Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) make it tough to get answers to our funding requests to fight this virus while we are still trying to address shortages from past emergency events.
IRTC has still not recovered from the Manitoba 2019 October Power Outage. “Reimbursements and “Build back better” policies from ISC are just meaningless words It has been over a year since our members had to evacuate their homes due to the power outage, and this left us and our communities out of pocket in excess of millions of dollars combined; monies which we paid out with assurance of repayment. These shortfalls in repayment reveal our mistreatment stems from systemic racism, exhibited by the Federal Government and regional ISC office. Municipalities would be paid back for their costs within 6 months or less” shared Karl Zadnik, Chief Executive Officer.
Dauphin River First Nation members were finally returning to their community after being evacuated from the 2011 flood when they were hit with last years snowstorm. Once again, they were evacuated and returned to find damaged homes and community infrastructure.
Many Dauphin River residents can only access their homes by boat in the summer and snowmobile in the winter. This area is not accessible by land, so these families are at the mercy of weather and a changing climate. A bridge would significantly reduce transportation hazards and risks in this community but repeated requests to both governments have been denied. The governments ask us to “Build back better” and to have emergency preparedness plans in place, however, they fail to provide the resources to achieve these basic necessities.
Despite this, IRTC remains committed to working with the Federal and Provincial governments of the day, however, we really need to address the systemic racism and government bureaucracy that exists. Attitudes of us being less than the average Canadian citizen need to stop within these government departments so we can receive the care and resources needed to move towards reconciliation.
For more info contact: Karl Zadnik, IRTC Chief Executive Officer at 204-795-4747.
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