Pikangikum, Ontario – Almost two weeks after the Ontario Provincial Police exited Pikangikum First Nation, which led to the disruption of nursing and health care support in the Community, the First Nation still has no resolution from government and authorities on next steps.
“The community is looking for its own solutions as discussions continue,” stated Chief Dean Owen. “The more we talk the more we are resolved to move as quickly as possible towards running our own standalone Police services, and due to the negative impacts to the Nursing Station operations, looking at operating our own Community Health Care operations. It is evident that these systems are tied to each other at the government level, leaving our Community helpless and the solution out of our control. In a remote community setting, we find this unacceptable.” continued Chief Owen.
Over the weekend, the Community’s Tribal Council sent in nurses and health professionals to assist in supporting the community in the interim. Independent First Nation Alliance (IFNA) CEO Mathew Hoppe stated that “with no resolution in sight, the Community is looking at any and all options. Can you imagine the government shutting down your hospital services in the evenings and overnight because your Police Force wasn’t available? This is the situation in Pikangikum right now.”
Mr. Hoppe added that “Our job as a Tribal Council is to support and fill gaps. The loss of these essential services certainly qualifies as a huge health and safety gap and the community is looking to us for assistance. We encourage any available nurses to visit ifna.ca and express their interest in assisting as temporary nurses in Pikangikum while a more permanent solution is found.”
“We are having trouble understanding how the loss of these essential services is acceptable to government. It just makes us realize further that we are on our own; maybe it took this event to make it clear that we can only depend on ourselves,” adds Chief Owen.