From the Inbox:
Shoal Lake #40 First Nation Denied Access To Homes: Launches Peaceful Walk For Their ‘Freedom Road’
FIRST NATION COMMUNITY DENIED ACCESS TO HOMES:
LAUNCHES PEACEFULWALK FOR THEIR ‘FREEDOM ROAD’
Elderly, Sickly, Expectant Mothers, Young and Old Denied Access to Homes, Community Survival Jeopardized
The Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation Community was swept aside onto a man-made island in 1917 so that the city of Winnipeg residents could drink clean water. In the latest development the besieged community is about to be blocked from using their only remaining access point located on the neighboring First Nation. The Iskatewizaagegan 39 First Nation has sent a large bill for the ferry landing that Shoal Lake 40 has used for years. They also posted memos advising that any vehicles parked at the landing who have not paid ‘fees’ will be towed away beginning April 28th at 7:00 am at the owner’s expense, -including the Shoal Lake 40 medical vehicle. Faced with no options to access their homes the Shoal Lake 40 members decided at a recent community meeting ‘enough is enough’ and have launched a peaceful walk to bring attention to their plight.
Roughly 250 people live on the man-made island and they must park their vehicles at the ferry landing during freeze up and break-up.
A feeling of siege and oppression lingers heavily in air at the local elementary school, daycare, band office and service offices in the isolated community. Shoal Lake No. 40 government and members of the community have created a plan of action to create national awareness of their situation by organizing a ‘Walk for our Freedom Road’ to the city of Winnipeg. The determined marchers will travel overland to the Trans Canada Highway and in about 5 days they plan to arrive at site of the proposed ‘Canadian Human Rights Museum’ at the Forks. The community is astounded to know that the Prime Minister has allotted millions to a pretty building that claims to honour on water and Aboriginals while the aboriginal community of Shoal Lake 40 is literally dying because of Winnipeg’s water and Canada’s failure to stand up for the Band’s basic human right to access their treaty lands.
Shoal Lake is the water source for the City of Winnipeg and for that very reason Shoal Lake No. 40 First Nation has become a man made island. (see maps attached.) While the
City of Winnipeg residents can drink clean water directly from their taps, Shoal Lake on the other hand has been on boil water advisory for 11 years and to date do not have a water treatment plant because of the lack of road access. Shoal Lake continues to plead for the government to provide the funding necessary to build their access road but to no avail.
With the latest move of their neighbours who have had to give up their land for years, Shoal Lake 40 people are now backed into a corner and feel they have no alternative but to walk for their Freedom Road and demand that Canada live up to its claim to support and protect human rights.
Canada expropriated over 3000 acres of Shoal Lake 40 Reserve and construction related to the City of Winnipeg water intake chopped the remaining land into three isolated pieces.
The walkers are camped out half an hours drive from the city. We are currently organizing support in Winnipeg. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com if you can offer any help. Put “Support for Shoal Lake Walkers” in your subject heading, please.