THUNDER BAY – On Monday, April 29, at a 10 AM press conference and at a 3 pm Rally at Queen Parks, a large number of community members and supporters from the far northern Ontario First Nation community of Kashechewan on the shores of James Bay are expected to gather at the Queen’s Park legislature in Toronto.
Then again on April 30 at 11 AM, press conference and at noon Rally at Parliament Hill will be held to draw attention to their plight of annual spring flooding and community evacuation at their Indian Reserve community. Albany Reserve # 67 known as Kashechewan First Nation today,
Kashechewan Reserve members have had to flee their community this year, as many times in the past, to avoid the almost annual spring flooding. Kashechewan leaders have long pleaded with governments to help solve the problem, to no avail.
For decades, the village of Kashechewan has suffered severe community flooding almost annually when the banks of the major Albany River overflow as the spring ice break-up clogs the river where it flows into Hudson Bay. In many years, the entire community has had to be evacuated to other communities. There are no roads to Kashechewan so the evacuation is costly and a tremendous hardship to community members and others.
The community was originally established near the Hudson’s Bay Company trading post and Catholic and Anglican Church missions at the Albany Island old post mouth of the Albany River. But for decades the community has sought government assistance to relocate the community to higher ground farther upstream to avoid the devastating flooding.
Kashechewan Chief Friday has been in negotiations on and off for many years with governments, seeking resources to move the small community to higher ground. Chief Friday says: “I have met with Ministers of government many times who have promised funding for relocation, but it seems that politics means our small and remote community always get bumped off the action list. The promises always turn out empty. So here we are again, having to evacuate our elders, our children, everybody.”
Rallies are planned for Queen’s Park at 3:00 on Monday, April 29, and in Ottawa Parliament Hill at 11:30 am and the community welcomes supporters to join them.