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Kashechewan First Nation evacuees arriving in Barrie this week

'We’re honoured to open our community to you and hope you feel at home,' says Barrie mayor
Community support personnel are shown on the runway.

A group of evacuees from Kashechewan First Nation will be settling in Barrie this week.

The residents will be hosted in the city after being evacuated from their homes near James Bay in northern Ontario due to the annual ice break-up on the Albany River.

Earlier this year, Missanabie Cree First Nation ISN Maskwa and Kashechewan First Nation agreed to work in collaboration and utilize each other’s services, which officials from both are calling a “groundbreaking decision” that serves as a first step in an Indigenous-led approach to First Nations supporting First Nations in crises. 

Kashechewan First Nation has engaged Missanabie Cree First Nation ISN Maskwa’s Indigenous Emergency Operations Centre (IEOC) — Canada’s first Indigenous Emergency Operations Centre — to co-ordinate and provide support services to these community members.

“I would like to thank our municipalities and Indigenous hosts for coming together to assist our affected community in our time of need. We respect this collaboration and the strong community supports that come together to make this experience as safe and welcoming as possible,” stated Wilbert Wesley, manager of emergency services with Mushkegowuk council. 

Muskegowuk council will also be closely involved and will work with the First Nation and ISN Maskwa.

“The City of Barrie looks forward to working in collaboration with ISN Maskwa and we welcome the opportunity to have community members from Kashechewan First Nation in our city," Barrie Mayor Alex Nuttall said in a news release. "We’re honoured to open our community to you and hope you feel at home."