July 19, 2024

InfoTrace

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Cat Lake Initial Nation declares state of crisis following nursing station ruined in fireplace

4 min read
Cat Lake Initial Nation declares state of crisis following nursing station ruined in fireplace

Cat Lake First Nation’s nursing station has burned down, leaving the distant northwestern Ontario local community with no a central entry level to well being-treatment expert services.

Nishnawbe Aski Police Provider (NAPS) confirmed that a fireplace broke out at the Margaret Grey Nursing Station Saturday evening just in advance of 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

“When officers arrived, they noticed smoke and noticeable flames coming from the community’s nursing station. Officers remained at the scene and assisted group users making an attempt to extinguish the hearth,” NAPS mentioned in a information release issued Sunday afternoon.

“At 11:46 p.m., it was considered as well harmful to continue hearth suppression efforts. The constructing seems to be a full reduction, even so, no injuries were being noted as a end result of the fireplace.”

About 650 persons dwell in Cat Lake, an Ojibway neighborhood found about 440 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, alongside the Albany River. 

An investigation into the blaze stays ongoing, with guidance from associates of the NAPS Criminal offense Device and Office of the Ontario Fireplace Marshal.

This is the third important fireplace in a Initial Country in northwestern Ontario this winter. Before this yr, the only college in Eabametoong First Nation burned down, and a house fire in the distant Cree group of Peawanuck killed two men and women and despatched three others to the clinic.

Main declares unexpected emergency

Chief Russell Wesley has declared a area state of unexpected emergency adhering to the hearth. 

“Cat Lake Very first Country has no nursing station facility to supply overall health treatment to the Cat Lake Local community users. Nursing station lodging were also wholly wrecked by the fireplace. Cat Lake Initially Country will call for choice steps in put to assure overall health care expert services can be accessed and offered to the Cat Lake Initially Nation group associates,” the declaration reads.

“Additional, owing to the hearth, h2o carries on to stream to the nursing station leading to the reservoir to run dry. The group is currently striving to find the shut off valve to isolate [the] creating. Currently the local community has no access to h2o because of to the h2o plant not being monitored during the fireplace at the nursing station and as explained above,” it explained. 

Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa calls the fireplace in Cat Lake a devastating blow to the neighborhood.

“I feel that this fireplace is variety of a marker of a even bigger situation of how we need to increase the infrastructure in the north, how we want to increase the [health-care] services even even more to that,” Mamakwa reported in an interview with CBC News Sunday.

Mamakwa claimed he’s been in call with Main Wesley, who was unavailable to immediately converse with CBC Information. 

CBC News has also contacted Ontario’s Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford, and federal Minister of Indigenous Expert services Patty Hajdu, for remark. Hajdu tweeted about the fire late Sunday afternoon.

Kenora MP Eric Melillo also took to social media to specific his thoughts to the neighborhood. 

“It is devastating to understand of the fire in Cat Lake Initial Country. My views are with the community in this difficult time,” Melillo wrote on Fb Sunday.

One more blow amid ‘health care crisis’ 

Very last thirty day period, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Chiefs handed a resolution to declare another well being point out of unexpected emergency and to set up a NAN territorial Initially Nations overall health providers Ombudsman’s Place of work, created to detect barriers to treatment and advocate for options at all levels of govt. NAN signifies 49 Initial Nations across Treaty 9 and 5 in northern Ontario.

The resolution arrives just after NAN to start with declared a condition of community well being unexpected emergency in February 2016.

Mamakwa claimed the loss of Cat Lake’s nursing station speaks to wellbeing-treatment inadequacies across the area.

A person wearing a dark winter jacket and moose-hide gloves with a fur trim and beaded eagles on the front of them stands outside on a snowy day.
Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa, seen in Eabametoong Initially Nation in this January 2024 picture. Mamakwa states the reduction of Cat Lake Very first Nation’s nursing station speaks to the broader wellness-care challenges Very first Nations are going through. (Marc Doucette/CBC)

“I consider overall in the north, the nursing stations are not functioning to the total ability just simply because of the deterioration of some of the structures. Not only that — communities are expanding, their populations are [growing] exponentially, and it truly has an influence,” Mamakwa claimed.

The infrastructure gap, combined with a growing populace that wants more nursing and medical services but lacks the team to satisfy calls for, has made a recipe for catastrophe, he spelled out.

“It does not get the job done. It is a nursing crisis. It is a health-treatment crisis what we see up north, and that leads to useless fatalities and then the avoidable struggling for the individuals that reside there,” Mamakwa explained.

For larger sized 1st Nations in northwestern Ontario, these types of as Eabametoong, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Pikangikum and Sandy Lake, Mamakwa would like to see healthcare facility providers sent in-local community to help bridge the well being-treatment gap.

“We need to have to be equipped to put in major sources to much better the technique, and one particular of the methods is wellbeing transformation,” he said, referencing NAN’s ongoing approach to boost wellbeing-care obtain in communities.

“Wellbeing transformation to me is supplying back power in the To start with Nations and bringing providers nearer to household.”

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