Airport Closure Impacts Neskantaga First Nation
THUNDER BAY – Chief Peter Moonias from Neskantaga First Nation is dealing with a two-sided crisis. First a suicide in the community has the First Nation reeling. Chief Moonias says the Christmas spirit in his community has been wiped out.
Then a memo from the Ontario Government Ministry of Transport that the Airport will be closed from December 25, 26, 27 and 28th is preventing crisis workers and families from gathering to help his community.
Chief Peter Moonias – Neskantaga First Nation
Chief Moonias says that this is “inhuman treatment” of the people in his community and that by closing the airport during this time of crisis, that family members can’t get in to help, and that crisis and trauma workers can not get in as quickly as needed.
In a telephone interview the Chief shares his concerns with NetNewsLedger.
The Chief and Council wrote the Ministry of Transportation on the issue.
Here is the text of the letter:
This morning, we are in receipt of the Ministry’s notice to close operations during the Christmas holiday seasons. It is disappointing and a shock to hear that the Ministry has decided to close the airport without our input and sufficient notification.
As well, Neskantaga is in the midst of community crisis and state of shock. The community lost another youth due to suicide. It has called upon other neighbouring communities and organizations to assist our time of need and provide our community the necessary support we require during this difficult time.
This airport closure will create difficulties for our community to get the support that it needs.
Further, families of the deceased will be arriving in the next few days to pay their last respects as well, anticipate crisis teams and counsellors to arrive to assist our community.
We are asking for an immediate reversal of the decision to allow our community to get the necessary support that it needs to cope with this tragedy.