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Worst flood in Peguis First Nation history has leaders seeking federal aid

Click to play video: 'Chiefs Call For More Than ‘Band-Aid Solutions.’' Chiefs Call For More Than ‘Band-Aid Solutions.’
Chief Glenn Hudson and Chief Jerry Daniels are calling for more support from the federal government to improve infrastructure at Peguis First Nation. – May 20, 2022

The current flooding in Peguis First Nation is known to be the worst in its recent history.

This comes after a chronic string of annual floods — 11 in the past 20 years — and what officials from Peguis say is a lack in government support to implement sustainable solutions.

Read more: Forced to relocate to a flood plain: Manitoba First Nation says protection is overdue

According to Peguis Chief Glenn Hudson, this adds even more emotional turmoil on top of a dense history of displacement and loss for the community.

“We never chose to be in this location where we are today,” he told 680 CJOB on Friday morning.

“Our former reserve was the Saint Peter’s Reserve in and around Selkirk, and that was taken from us illegally. And we were placed where we are today. And as a result, being in a delta, we experience flooding frequently.”

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Read more: Overland flood watches upgraded to warnings as Manitoba braces for more rain

Several studies have turned up ways to address the reoccurring flooding in the community, but solutions have yet to be implemented.

“The lack of proper permanent infrastructure to protect Peguis from recurring flooding constitutes nothing less than systemic racism,” said William Sutherland, emergency management lead for Peguis. “How else could this double-standard exist when it comes to the flood protection of First Nation communities versus non-Indigenous communities, and the lack of funding to replace the homes of hundreds of Peguis flood evacuees?”

Read more: Water levels in Manitoba First Nation could crest again, a foot higher than before

The water has receded along the riverbanks, but there’s still a great deal of overland flooding for Peguis First Nation to contend with — repairing roadways being among the top concerns.

Chief Hudson said it’s time for the federal government to step in.

Click to play video: 'Flood fight continues in Peguis First Nation' Flood fight continues in Peguis First Nation
Flood fight continues in Peguis First Nation – May 13, 2022

“I’ve heard from the premier directly over the phone and the same thing with a few ministers. They want to help. And I think we do have the solution for this. It’s just a matter of getting the financial commitment in place to be able to do this.”

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While optimistic, Chief Hudson said concrete steps need to be taken now.

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