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NEWS: Lake St. Martin First Nation evacuees in limbo

Chief Adrian Sinclair. Photo by Victoria Ptashnick/ Toronto Star

Chief Adrian Sinclair. Photo by Victoria Ptashnick/ Toronto Star

The Toronto Star reports on the 17 people from the Lake St. Martin First Nation, including Alexis Sinclair, who have committed suicide since they were forced to evacuate to Winnipeg in May 2011 “when the provincial government decided to divert through their land flood waters that were headed for the capital”. Chief Adrian Sinclair, the uncle of Alexis Sinclair, “fears that number (of suicides) will continue to grow.” The article notes that the Manitoba government built homes for evacuees on a former Canadian Forces radar base near Gypsumville even though they knew the site was known for annual garter snake migrations. The thirteen families living on the radar base have now found snakes in their homes. And despite Chief Sinclair requesting a higher-elevation parcel of land known as Site 9 as the new location for the First Nation community “the provincial government bought land adjacent to the old Lake St. Martin reserve without telling him … violating a constitutional right that says aboriginal people must be consulted on decisions affecting them” and vulnerable to continued flooding because of its low elevation. “Sinclair says the longer he plans to fight for Site 9, the longer his people will be stranded in limbo in Winnipeg.”

A September 2012 campaign blog on this situation can be read at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=16878, a November 2012 blog is at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=18052. The complete Toronto Star article can be read at http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1311110–first-nation-flood-evacuees-in-limbo-in-winnipeg-as-housing-squabble-continues.