ALBERTA

Siksika First Nation Residents Set Up Blockade Over Flood Rebuilding Fears

11/05/2015 12:06 EST | Updated 11/05/2015 12:59 EST
Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

SIKSIKA, Alta. — Residents of a southern Alberta First Nation have set up a blockade on one of their roads.

They were evacuated from their low-lying homes due to record flooding in June 2013, and say their chief and council are not listening to their concerns about where new housing is being built.

Ben Crowfoot is taking part in the blockade preventing construction crews from getting into the area.

Residents recently submitted a petition to the Siksika chief and council demanding control of where the new homes are located.

About 100 homes were destroyed during the flood, and nearly 1,100 band members have been without a permanent home since then.

Chief Vincent Yellow Old Woman says he's aware of the concerns, and believes that it must be fixed from within.

"We've identified that,'' Yellow Old Woman said Wednesday.

"There's a communication gap and we're going to have a review on that.''

He said they need to look at some of the strengths and weaknesses of their response to the disaster.

"The Alberta government gave us $49 million and we can spend it any way we want,'' Yellow Old Woman said. "I suppose, when it comes to housing, if we want to spend it all on infrastructure, where are the houses going to go? So we have to be very careful and be good stewards.''

Crowfoot said a community is more than homes and infrastructure.

"These communities that are getting built, they're just built because of the infrastructure, they don't worry about the people living in the homes. That's where the community is — the people inside the homes, not the infrastructure.''

(CHQR)

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