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McMurray Métis, Athabasca Tribal Council and RMWB partner to help First Nations and Métis communities in wildfire recovery

(Fort McMurray, AB – March 20, 2017)  The Recovery Task Force has partnered with the McMurray Métis and the Athabasca Tribal Council to establish two positions dedicated to helping First Nations and Métis communities in Wood Buffalo recover from the May 2016 wildfire.

The McMurray Métis community was significantly affected by the wildfire. The community lost the McMurray Métis local office on Highway 63, which served as the seat of their local government and a community hub where services were delivered to their citizens. Additionally, 80 per cent of the McMurray Métis membership was living in the heavily damaged neighbourhoods of Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways at the time of the wildfire.

The office of the Athabasca Tribal Council is located in Waterways, a community that was heavily damaged in the wildfire. While the office was left standing, damages were sustained and access was limited until March 7, 2017 when staff members were able to return permanently to the office for the first time since May 3, 2016. The team of 27 staff members had previously been working out of a temporary office space at Riverstone Ridge, which was donated by Shell.

“This partnership is an important step towards supporting our First Nations and Métis residents in the region,” said Jeanette Bancarz, Chair of the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee. “We are excited to work together with the McMurray Métis and Athabasca Tribal Council, and look forward to a strong relationship in recovery.” 
 
“Today we are proud to announce the creation of this new position that will focus on helping the Métis residents of Wood Buffalo to recover,” said Gail Gallupe, McMurray Métis President. “The loss off our local office and the destruction faced by our Métis community has made it very difficult for our Métis citizens to recover. We are very grateful to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo for their support and partnership in this endeavor.”

“Working together to recover in the wake of the wildfire will make our entire community stronger as a whole,” said Maggie Farrington, CEO, Athabasca Tribal Council. “Our First Nations citizens have faced many hurdles in the wake of the wildfire and continue to meet and overcome the challenges of recovery. We are grateful for this partnership as we work to support our citizens as they make their way toward a new normal.” 
 
The positions will be funded by the Municipality’s Recovery Task Force and administered by the McMurray Métis and the Athabasca Tribal Council. 

The McMurray Métis will be represented by Bryan Fayant. Mr. Fayant has a long history within the Métis community and has had a very successful career in the social work field, both of which will serve him well as he supports Métis citizens in Wood Buffalo. 

Lisa Golosky will be representing the Athabasca Tribal Council. Mrs. Golosky originates from Fort Chipewyan and moved to Fort McMurray in 1976. She is a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation, with significant experience working in industry, government and First Nations government roles. She has a strong respect and connection to the land and is pleased to be a part of the Athabasca Tribal Council as an Engagement Strategist. 
 
The initiative will run for 12 months and will focus on the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of recovery for First Nations and Métis people. 
 
                                                                                 -30-

For more information, please contact:

RMWB Recovery Task Force
pio@rmwb.ca

McMurray Métis
Dan Stuckless 
General Manager
780-743-2659 Ext. 222
GM1935@McMurrayMetis.org

Athabasca Tribal Council
1-800-661-0575
info@atcfn.ca

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