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June 23, 2013 - Updated message from Siksika Nation Fire Chief Tom Littlechild
Please be advised the Siksika Nation Administration will be closed until further notice excluding essential services. This also includes the Siksika Nation Schools and Daycares
Boil water issue is still in effect until further notice.
Bottle water is being delivered to identified homes. Please note that water will only be left if someone is home.
Water restriction issue is still in effect. For those homes that still have water, please use your water sparingly and for personal use only!
The 547 Chicago and 842 Washington bridges are out and will be for a long time (months or longer)
Highway 24 bridge south to Carseland is now open. Earlier today, Highway 36 Bridge was close, however, the bridge city road is accessible.
This page will be edited/modified as new information is made available!
Donations being received at CFWE and Windspeaker offices in Edmonton.
Photo by Brad Crowfoot
Donations collected by CFWE and Windspeaker being delivered to Siksika.
Photo by Bert Crowfoot
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Wildfires that began surging through the Treaty 8 traditional territory in mid-May have left over 9,700 people displaced, with easily one-third of those being First Nations or Métis.
The first mandatory evacuation orders were issued on May 15. Although the town of Slave Lake with its 7,000 population-base was the largest centre to be impacted, many First Nations’ communities surrounding the town and north were also evacuated, whether voluntary or mandatory.
Almost 10 days after the first evacuation orders were issued, the government announced a phased re-entry plan. The four-phase plan, which included input from the Sawridge First Nation and endorsed by the Town of Slave Lake, the Municipal District of Lesser Slave River and the province, is sketchy on details as what it means for Treaty 8 members, said Joseph Jobin, chief operating office with Treaty 8 First Nation.
November 29, 2016.
Homelessness in Alberta has dropped dramatically since 2008.
Preliminary figures released Tuesday by the 7 Cities on Housing and Homelessness show a 31 per cent decrease in 2016 from eight years earlier.
“We didn’t know what to expect,” said Susan McGee, director for Homeward Trust Edmonton, which coordinated the count in the capital. “It’s not surprising knowing how many individuals have been housed and knowing how much work has happened in the last two years to focus on the chronically homeless.”
However, the Indigenous population still accounts for a disproportionate number of those homeless. Of the 5,373 enumerated as homeless, more than one-quarter at 28 per cent were Indigenous. While the exact numbers for Indigenous populations in the seven cities is not known, in 2011, the Indigenous population made up four per cent of that overall population.
November 22, 2016.
About 50 people gathered outside the Alberta Legislature late Monday afternoon carrying placards and candles protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to British Columbia. The federal government is to make a decision by Dec. 19 on the project.
“When (Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley) sat with Indigenous leaders my understanding is they were not going to put in pipelines. So they’re backing off on their words. And I know that many people are onboard around making them accountable for their promises prior to the election,” said Elder Taz Bouchier.
For Bouchier, her protest in Edmonton is just one more stand in a continuum of work for the protection of Indigenous rights and Mother Earth.
“I’m here in solidary also with Standing Rock, to gain some support for them for the atrocities and inhumane treatment they’re going through at this time,” she said.
Editor’s note: We have been asked by Chevi Rabbit to use gender neutral pronouns for this story, and, to be respectful, we have done that.
Chevi Rabbit moved from hate to hope four years ago, after being attacked on the streets of Edmonton. The crime was a crime of hate. Rabbit was targeted for being gay. But instead of becoming embittered by the violence, Rabbit started an annual event, called Hate to Hope, which is now just one of many projects Rabbit is involved in, to rally support for the LGBTQ community.
“I think it was more like, world shattering… growing up in a loving home and community, I was very traumatized by it,” said Rabbit of zir experience after the assault.
November 21, 2016.
As on-site archeological work in southern Alberta comes to an end, there is anticipation about possible work in another disaster area in the province.
Archeologist Dr. Dan Meyers, with the consulting company Lifeways of Canada, is excited about the possibility of seeing what the wild fires that scorched close to 600,000 hectares this past spring in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo may have revealed about Indigenous life.
“If the government had funding available to do some sort of study to see what kind of sites they can find because of the fire, I would absolutely love to be involved in that,” said Meyers.
At this point, says Wendy Unfreed, with the Archeological Survey of Alberta, the province has not yet put together a program to examine archeological finds following the northern fire.
November 8, 2016.
Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan had high praise for the province’s Indigenous people as he spoke Monday night at the opening ceremony of the second annual Indigenous Innovation Summit.
Feehan said in the nine months he has served in his position, he has visited 26 First Nations and Metis settlements.
“Every single place I go, innovation is a keystone to what’s happening there,” he said.
He pointed to the work both the Louis Bull Tribe and Lubicon Lake Band have done with solar energy, noting that the province’s newest agency that is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions has a First Nations representative. Joseph Jobin, chief operating officer with the Treaty 8 First Nation, is one of six members on Energy Efficiency Alberta.
November 7, 2016.
An investigative review released last week by the Office of the Child and Youth Advocate into the death of a young boy resulted in no recommendations.
But that isn’t an indication of improved circumstances for Indigenous children in care, says Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff.
“I would suggest that is not what it means,” he said. “What it means is that the systemic issues that were arising in this circumstance, that we thought were present and that was the basis for us to do a review, were not confirmed.”
In this specific review, 15-year-old Netasinim (not his name) died in a drowning accident when visiting his First Nation. He had been in the care of a designated First Nations authority and living in a group home off his First Nation. When he returned to his community for a celebration, he went swimming with friends and was pulled under by a strong current.
November 3, 2016.
Hearts will soon be adorning the trees and shrubs in Edmonton’s river valley along the multi-use path between Groat Road and the High Level Bridge.
The pathway is Edmonton’s interpretation and contribution to a national network of healing forests that was conceived by the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation.
“These places are supposed to be places for reflection and understanding about the legacy of residential schools and also some current issues like murdered and missing Aboriginal women and the children in the foster care system,” said Sara Komarnisky, a member of RISE (Reconciliation in Solidarity Edmonton).
The NCTR will be mapping the locations of the healing forests across Canada.
“Our initiative in Edmonton is intended to be a community space but will be linked together with other healing forests throughout the country,” said Komarnisky.
November 17, 2016.
It’s heartbreaking work, but families need to know where their children, who died attending Indian residential schools, are buried.
“It’s about bringing closure for families,” said Charles Wood, chair of the Remembering the Children Society. “Who knows what the numbers are from the residential schools across the nation, how many children never made it home.”
November 10, 2016.
Independent Indigenous input will help inform the University of Calgary’s institutional-wide Indigenous strategy, but there is no plan to solicit that same kind of input of the larger Indigenous community when the strategy is in draft format.
That doesn’t mean Indigenous people won’t have hands-on involvement after the consultation process is concluded. It means that input will be limited to Indigenous personnel with ties to the university.
“We have three Elders on our steering committee so they are an essential part of our steering committee. We also have a working group and within that working group we have diverse and extensive Indigenous representation,” said Jackie Ottmann, co-chair of the Indigenous Strategy steering committee. Ottmann is an associate professor and director of Indigenous Education Initiatives. She is also Annishinabe.
November 1, 2016.
The frustration bleeds through when Child and Youth Advocate Del Graff talks about recommendations that have been repeatedly ignored by provincial governments.
“Since my office has been responsible for investigative reviews, we’ve made 34 recommendations to address suicide for young people. Of 34 of those recommendations, only eight have been met. That’s less than a quarter of them,” said Graff
Fifteen recommendations have received no response other than the government saying that they have been accepted. Graff says this lack of action by the province is not what he had expected.
Jerry Saddleback travels wherever he is invited, to share the stories, language, culture, ceremonies, songs and Story of Creation to all members of the Plains Cree family and other nations. (Photo: facebook.com/StrathconaArchaeologicalSociety)
Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Chief Allan Adam is one of many people to recognize former Premier Jim Prentice for his dedicated work.
Prentice, and three others, died when their Cessna Citation business jet crashed last Thursday evening near Kelowna, B.C. They were on their way back to Calgary after a golf trip.
“From a political stand point of view, when Premier Prentice took over in office after (Premier Alison) Redford, one thing he tried to do was engage with First Nations people because he knew how important it was to work with the First Nations of Canada because of his interactions with them while he was the minister of Aboriginal affairs with Canada,” said Adam.
“He started a lot of things, especially while being with Indian Affairs,” said Assembly of First Nations Alberta Regional Chief Craig Mackinaw. “There were a lot of things he was trying to get going.”
October 17, 2016. The Homeless Count is a point-in-time count of Edmonton’s homeless population. It serves to provide a current snapshot of the overall homeless population and the ability to examine how this population changes over time. The results of the count are used by community agencies, researchers and government to estimate the size and demographic characteristics across time of our homeless population in order to inform our ongoing efforts to reduce homelessness. The 2016 Homeless Count will take place over a 24-hour period, starting in the evening of Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 7-10 p.m. and continuing to Thursday, Oct. 20, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Volunteers are sent out in pairs as enumerators to complete a short survey to everyone they encounter.
October 17, 2016. The Outside Circle by Patti Laboucane-Benson is the winner of the fourth annual Burt Award for First Nations, Inuit and Métis Literature. The graphic novel, illustrated by Kelly Mellings, tells the story of two Aboriginal brothers surrounded by poverty, drug abuse, and gang violence, who try to overcome centuries of historic trauma in different ways to bring about positive change in their lives. Laboucane-Benson is a Métis woman and the director of research, training, and communication at Native Counselling Services of Alberta in Edmonton. Winners for the Burt Award were selected by a peer assessment committee administered by the Canada Council for the Arts. Taking second place was The Education of Augie Merasty: A Residential School Memoir.
October 12, 2016.
It’s money better late than never but Cold Lake Friendship Society Executive Director Agnes Gendron admits the funding would have been handy in May or June.
The friendship centre was one of three organizations to each receive $70,000 today from the province through the Alberta Rural Development Network.
Funding was provided to projects in Cold Lake, Anzac and Fort Chipewyan aimed at addressing what Human Services Minister Irfan Sabir referred to as “the unique challenges of rural homelessness.” The money is intended to help those impacted by the wildfire that spread through the Fort McMurray area in May.
“It is a good surprise, because friendship centres in Alberta do a lot of work for the homeless,” said Gendron.
The funding will be used by CLFS to support its Helping Hand project. Established in response to the wildfire, the project assists with accommodations, employment, food and other essentials.
October 11, 2016.
Siksika Nation is taking $28 million equity from its $123 million Castle Mountain land claim settlement and investing in a big way.
“Siksika Nation itself is in the position to start investing,” said Shane Breaker, general manager, retail and construction development services with Siksika Resource Developments Ltd. “Siksika needs to get on the map for major investment, commercial, real estate, any other ventures out there.”
In 2017, Siksika Nation will be co-owners of two hotels and conference centres that will be branded under the First Nation’s name and boast Blackfoot culture.
“We felt that a hotel (investment) would be one that our people would accept and something really long term,” said Breaker.
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