President's Message - May 23, 2024

May 23, 2024

I know many of our Citizens have been following the wildfires in northern Manitoba with deep concern, and the resulting evacuation of Cranberry Portage, a community that is home to many of our friends and relatives, including my wife Glorian's mother. While I was there, I spoke with some of the evacuees, to hear about their experience and understand how the MMF could best help our Citizens.

I know that Vice-President Judy Mayer's team was immediately engaged, assisting Citizens arriving in The Pas from their homes - some with little more than the clothes on their backs. This team remained hard at work for the duration of the evacuation, working hard to stay in contact with all our displaced Citizens, and making arrangements for their accommodations, food, clothing, toiletries, and everything else they needed.

In Winnipeg, your Red River Métis Government immediately enacted our emergency response plan and started communicating with the Region to address gaps and needs of our displaced Citizens.

I commend The Pas Region's fast response to support Citizens, led by Vice-President Mayer, Lisa Stevenson, Linda Chartrand, and Bonnie Hatch. Together, they truly demonstrated what it means to be Red River Métis, offering help, comfort, and support to Citizens.

I also thank the Emergency Response Team at Home Office for their quick action and support of the Region. This response team is a multi-disciplinary group that provided expertise and knowledge to a coordinated response, including working closely with other levels of government. This was a complex, fast-moving, and challenging emergency, and I am very proud of everyone who worked hard to ensure that all Citizens were accounted for and had what they needed. While many Departments and Affiliates provided swift and comprehensive support from their sectors, I would like to particularly commend members of the Central Registry Office, the Red River Métis Community Resource Department, and the Energy, Infrastructure and Resource Management Department for their coordinated efforts, as well as the Northwest Region's support of Vice-President Mayer and her team.

Because of everyone's hard work, we were able to quickly ship needed items to evacuees and their families, which we know helped many as the evacuation orders continued for the remainder of the week.

I thank the firefighters who worked so hard, and risked their own lives, to protect homes from the ravages of the wildfire, ensuring our Citizens still had houses to come home to.

While the immediate crisis is over, we know that Citizens returning to Cranberry Portage have challenges to face getting back to their regular lives, including assessing the damage done to things like freezers and fridges as a result of the power loss. Any Citizens who require assistance in this or any other matter related to returning home can call the MMF's emergency response line at 1 (888) 362-2012.

Being under evacuation orders due to natural disaster will always be disruptive and frightening; I hope our Citizens felt the support of our Red River Métis Government. I have shared my concerns about climate change with our Citizens in previous messages, and this very early start to the wildfire season is another example of how these changes are already starting to affect us. We know this is only the first fire of the season, and while I hope and pray that no others are displaced by fires, your Red River Métis Government remains ready to support our Citizens - every day and in every way we can.

To help all our Citizens be prepared ahead of any risk of evacuation, we will be communicating with Citizens in the coming weeks about what to do in the event of an evacuation order. Until we can properly communicate the details, I urge every Citizen who may be at risk of wildfire evacuation to make sure you have a bag of necessities packed, including clothing, medicine, telephone numbers, toiletries, a cell phone charger, and a small amount of cash. It is important to have these supplies for many reasons, including the fact that the provincial Emergency Management Office does not provide support to Manitobans who are evacuated from their homes until after they have been evacuated for more than 72 hours.

I also encourage Citizens to keep your MMF Citizenship card with you at all times, or have a photo of it on your phone. To ensure we can reach you in an emergency situation to provide you with support, it's also important that the Central Registry Office has your up-to-date contact information. Having up-to-date contact information helped us reach out to all Citizens affected by the Cranberry Portage wildfire evacuation.

While this amount of preparation may feel like a lot, I can assure you that the conversations I had with evacuees reassured me that these steps can make a huge difference in the days following an evacuation.

Even while we were focused on supporting our Citizens in The Pas Region, there were MMF staff who worked quietly in the background to support some Winnipeg-based Citizens who were displaced from Birchwood Terrace, following the identification of dangerous structural failures that made the apartment building unlivable. We continue to do everything we can to make sure those Citizens also have what they need.

At our Indigenous Identity Fraud Summit, we shared many facts and stories about our identity and how we stand firm in our protection of it. We shared our values and our culture - the things that make us who we are. And while those important words and messages were being shared with our partners from the North and the East, our staff, community, and Nation were showing the value of the things we stand for, caring for each other in times of need. How we care for each other and protect each other is just as important a part of our identity as our flag, our music, our beadwork, our food, and our humour. We protect our right to take care of each other, and to be there for each other in times of crisis. As always, the MMF has your back.

Until we meet again, I offer my prayers to all our families, Citizens, friends, and neighbours, and my deepest condolences to those who have been caused to grieve.



View More

B300-150 Henry Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 0J7

^ * ( &

Métis Nation Database
Unite Interactive