Garden Hill evacuees appreciative of help, but restless - APTN NewsAPTN News

Garden Hill evacuees appreciative of help, but restless


Brittany Hobson

APTN National News

Tired and frustrated evacuees from the Garden Hill First Nation marched to Manitoba’s legislative building Thursday demanding better accommodations until conditions allow them to return home.

“Stressful, tired,” said Samson Barkman. “You know sleeping with 1,000 lights above we don’t know if it’s day or night.”

It’s been more than a week since nearly 1,000 community members were sent to live in emergency shelters in Winnipeg because of nearby forest fires.

Now the members of Garden Hill are demanding that all remaining evacuees be moved.

“So today I hope everybody gets a hotel room today,” Chief Dino Flett told people gathered.



Two shelters were set up last week due to a lack of hotel space.

The Red Cross closed one shelter Thursday morning but there are still a couple hundred evacuees without rooms.

Margaret Little’s daughter is one of them.

Little said the conditions are bad for families with young children.

“I think it’s too public,” said Little. “People need their privacy especially with these families with little ones.

“They need that privacy to do what they have to do for their kids.”

Flett commends Winnipegers for stepping up and helping those in need but says more needs to be done on the provincial level.

“The people have been great and I thank them for that but it’s the provincial government, Manitoba provincial government is what we want to tell them we are here, this is our home, and we are Manitobans too,” Flett said.

As the community continues its fight many get strength from thoughts of home.

“I hope we are able to go home soon because I know people are longing to be there,” said Little.

Flett said he spoke with the Red Cross but wasn’t given a timeframe when the remaining evacuees will be transferred to hotels.

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