Municipality hosts visitors from Fox Lake Cree Nation
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
Sioux Lookout welcomed visitors from Fox Lake Cree Nation on August 28 and 29 after the community reached out to Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance earlier in the summer. The small community, which is located near Gillam, Manitoba, requested the two-day visit to learn more about Sioux Lookout’s efforts to work with area First Nations.
“The guests from Fox Lake Cree Nation were interested in learning more about Sioux Lookout, its relationship-building efforts with our neighbouring First Nations communities, the work of the Mayor’s Committee on Truth and Reconciliation, local health care options and service delivery, and they were very interested to learn more about the Sioux Lookout Healthy Community Task Force, and the made-in-Sioux-Lookout Healthy Community Strategy that was developed a few years ago,” said municipal clerk Brian MacKinnon.
MacKinnon added, “Mayor Lawrance was initially contacted by a representative of Manitoba Hydro, who is working closely with the community, to request the visit. Fox Lake Cree Nation is interested in developing a grassroots strategy to address the effects of the trauma experienced by the community as a result of Hydro developments in the 1960s. Following the initial discussion, the Municipality worked with the community to develop an itinerary for their visit to Sioux Lookout.”
Fox Lake Cree Nation councillor Shawna Arthurson and Fox Lake Cree Nation CEO Robert Wavey were two of the four representatives visiting Sioux Lookout. Arthurson said the trip was positive, especially after seeing similarities found in both communities.
“It’s been a very positive experience. We’re very happy to come here and meet with the local resources, committees and with everyone at the Municipal office. The engagement in the First Nations community here is positive and we have a lot of commonalities. We’re facing a lot of the same issues and we can find positive solutions to these by working together,” Arthurson explained.
Their busy visitation schedule included a tour of the Sioux Lookout Airport, a tour of the Municipality of Sioux Lookout, a tour of the Meno Ya Win Health Centre, a meeting with the Mayor’s Committee on Truth and Reconciliation, and discussions with representatives of the Sioux Lookout Healthy Community Task Force.
“It’s very flattering to know that someone has noticed what we’re doing in the community,” said George Hoggarth, who is a member of the Healthy Community Task Force.
Moving forward, the goal for Fox Lake Cree Nation is to take the added resources from this experience and use them to create their own plan.
“The approaches that this community has taken will help us in formulating our own plan. The next steps will be meeting with our community members and discussing our experiences,” Wavey concluded.