National Chief Atleo Speaks to Manitoba Premier Selinger on Action for First Nations During Flooding Crisis

OTTAWA, May 11 /CNW/ - Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo spoke with Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger today to ensure there is action to protect First Nations people and communities in the current flooding crisis and clarify the potential impacts of current activities, including the controlled release of waters at an Assiniboine River dike that could create further flooding in some regions.

"I called Premier Selinger this morning about the potential impacts of this decision for First Nations, including the communities of Lake St. Martin First Nation and Little Saskatchewan First Nation that can be affected by any rise in water levels on Lake Manitoba," National Chief Atleo stated.  "We need assurances that the controlled release will not create further hardship for these communities. I emphasized to the Premier the need for increased coordination, support and compensation for our citizens. He confirmed compensation would be provided to the affected First Nations.  Our conversation was especially timely as the Prime Minister is in the region today."

For the last month, First Nation communities in Manitoba and across the prairies have been hard hit by the flooding and urgently require additional support.

"The arrival of the military support as well as this new information about a controlled release had not been communicated to First Nations and this was a concern to us," stated National Chief Atleo.  "I have been told by Premier Selinger that the Manitoba government will keep First Nations leaders in the region informed of the situation.  We need full coordination, communication and increased support for First Nations.  We also need to start talking about long-term solutions to this situation as many of these communities deal with flooding and evacuation on an annual basis.  It is simply too much stress on communities that are already vulnerable.  Our people should receive the same level of protection and attention as municipalities in the area."

More than 28 First Nation communities in five different provinces have been impacted by flooding in the recent month. More than 1,000 First Nation citizens have already been evacuated from their homes. Some of them will have to wait between three and six months to return to their homes.

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada.

SOURCE ASSEMBLY OF FIRST NATIONS

For further information:

Don Kelly, Assembly of First Nations A/Communications Director
613-241-6789 ext. 334 or cell: 613-292-2787 or email dkelly@afn.ca

Jenna Young, Assembly of First Nations Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 401 or cell: 613-314-8157 or email jyoung@afn.ca

Alain Garon, Assembly of First Nations Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613-292-0857 or email agaron@afn.ca

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