Federal government to provide more than $ 19 million to independent nations of Wabaseemoong for mercury wellness center
The Independent Nations of Wabaseemoong and the federal government have reached an agreement for a care facility on the reserve, which will serve people in the community who are suffering from the effects of decades of mercury poisoning.
The agreement, signed by Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services, and Chief Wabaseemoong Waylon Scott, includes a federal commitment of up to $ 19.5 million to support the design and construction of a wellness center in mercury in the community.
“The health and well-being of our community has always been and will continue to be a top priority for us,” Scott said in a September 18 press release. “In order to move forward in addressing these health issues, we need to have a strong relationship built on trust and mutual respect, and we are pleased with the actions the federal government is taking today.”
Scott said the community, also known as the Whitedog First Nation and located about 100 kilometers northwest of Kenora, Ont., Is happy to finally see the wellness center grow. He said the leaders would continue to stand up for the welfare of their members.
Balance sheet to be completed in 2022
The deal will see Wabaseemoong and the federal government work together to address unique health needs, including the effects of mercury exposure, in the community through a health assessment
According to Indigenous Services Canada, the assessment is already underway by Wabaseemoong and is expected to be completed in 2022.
The assessment will identify the health needs of community members to develop a health service delivery plan.
Indigenous Services Canada said supporting the assessment and the agreement itself is a step towards reducing existing gaps in health care for First Nations such as Wabaseemoong.
“This agreement will lay a solid foundation and promote innovative ways to improve the health and well-being of community members, especially for those suffering the effects of mercury exposure,” Miller said in a statement. Press.
Miller said he praised the work of the Chief and Council in bringing the deal to fruition, “and developing a First Nations-led solution that will make a real difference in the lives of community members.”
The Grand Chief of the Anishinaabe Nation in Treaty 3, which includes Wabaseemoong, said he congratulated the community on the deal, which he said will bring positive results in the future.
“I am very happy to see this positive step forward for the independent nations of Wabaseemoong,” Grand Chief Francis Kavanaugh said in a new statement. “I am confident that this decision will bring positive results to the people of Wabaseemoong and we at the Grand Council Treaty 3 will at all times stand ready to support Wabaseemoong in its efforts to improve the health outcomes of its people.”
The deal with Wabaseemoong comes after the Grassy Narrows First Nation, or Asubpeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek, and the federal government reached an agreement for a care facility on the reserve, which will also serve people in the community who are suffering from the effects of ‘mercury poisoning.
The agreement with Grassy Narrows also includes a commitment of up to $ 19.5 million from the federal government.
Both communities suffered for decades from the impacts of mercury contamination in the English-Wabigoon river system from the late 1960s to the early 1970s.
During this time, untreated mercury waste from pulp and paper mill operations in Dryden, Ontario entered the English-Wabigoon waterway system. In addition to causing health problems for some residents, toxins in the waterway have resulted in the closure of a commercial fishery and hampered tourism.