In May 2011, Lake St. Martin First Nation received a death blow when the entire population--of more than 2000 men, women and children--was permanently displaced from their land by an artificial flood orchestrated by the Province of Manitoba.
After being ripped away from their livelihoods, their health and their socio-cultural integrity, the province has refused to listen to the community wishes to rebuild their community immediately rather than being placed in unsuitable temporary military base without water/sewage, school or any other amenity.
The Manitoba government has been practicing a politics of displacement and cruelty with Lake St. Martin First Nation. Rather than provide meaningful consultation or emergency relief, the province flooded out the reserve in order to save some upstream cottagers, Winnipeg and farmers with only an economic and recreational interest in the land, as well as cities. Instead of thanking Lake St. Martin First Nation for its sacrifice the Province has revictimized LSM FN through their lack of meaningful consultation for a home or for the $100 million channel built adjacent to their flooded community. The community members are suffering without a land-base and without income after their fisheries and other employment have been flooded out.
More than a year later, the people of Lake St. Martin First Nation are still without homes.
Dr. Myrle Ballard, a recent NRI doctoral graduate and Lake St. Martin First Nation community member, stated: “the community is still evacuated without a home – due to the government unilaterally deciding to relocate the community against their will to an old military base with no infrastructure. The community had focused their efforts to develop a walkable sustainable permanent settlement.” In the film “Flooding Hope: The Lake St. Martin Story” the people show their development plan for their “higher ground community” in which they move straight to permanent homes, bypassing an interim community with no future.
This level of community suffering from the government’s displacement politics is clearly unjust and cannot be condoned. Thank you for standing with this community
Please watch the video titled: "Flooding Hope: The Lake St. Martin First Nation Story http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQStePF5jeg
“Flooding Hope: The Lake St. Martin Story” was directed by Dr. Myrle Ballard, produced by Dr. Shirley Thompson and edited by Ryan Klatt.
Call for an inquiry into the Federal and Provincial government's lack of fulfillment on its duty to meaningfully consult and work in the best interest of First Nations on: 1) artificial adjustment of water levels by control structures to flood out First Nations land and houses, 2) locating interim Lake St. Martin First Nation (LSM) housing at unsuitable military base against the wishes of LSM First Nation; 3) digging a $100 million channel adjacent to LSM FN reserve without an environmental impact assessment; 4) providing no compensation for First Nation flooded land and housing by the province or federal government to date (December 2012) for the super flood of 2011; and, 5) providing inadequate disaster relief funding for food and expenses of only $4 per day per person and less for children, which is insufficient for buying nutritious food and covering incidentals.