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First Nations evacuees wait for floodwater levels to drop

Chiefs from Canupawakpa Dakota First Nation and Sioux Valley Dakota Nation said that until floodwater levels drop considerably, it is unlikely that their evacuees will be returning home.

"We don’t want to bring someone home and then need to evacuate them again," Sioux Valley Chief Vince Tacan said Friday.

The river in Sioux Valley is back around the same height as the first crest, maybe even higher, he said.

The water treatment and waste treatment plants are being monitored closely.

"There is still a ways to go before it would breech, but we need to be prepared just in case," Tacan said.

More than 150 people have been evacuated from Sioux Valley — some for almost two weeks.

Finding accommodation has been difficult, Canupawakpa Chief Delbert Cruise said.

"Our evacuees are all in hotels," he said. "One of our counsellors had to call a lot of places to find a room. We did get rooms in Brandon, but there were very few available."

Both communities will be needing provincial and/or federal government funding to help cover costs accumulated from flood-fighting efforts.

"Achieving the long-term accommodation for First Nations communities affected by the flooding is a priority of this government," a spokesperson for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada said.

"We will continue to work with each of our partners to ensure that recovery and support services are available while respecting taxpayer dollars."

Costs from the flooding are yet to be determined, but both communities are tracking spending to apply for financial assistance.

Tacan said he is also talking to government officials about what can be done to improve the situation in Sioux Valley in the event of future flooding.

"It is not acceptable to have major roads closed as long as Highway 21 was," he said. "Policy changes have to be involved moving forward to fix these issues."

Tacan offered his suggestions on potential changes to Arthur-Virden MLA Doyle Piwniuk during a meeting on Monday. He said that the MLA seemed positive about the changes.

The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs is also asking for changes to be made by the provincial government.

The assembly met in Winnipeg on Friday to discuss flooding issues and are demanding that the province stop intentionally flooding communities.

Neither Canupawakpa nor Sioux Valley is part of the assembly.

» mlane@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @megan_lane2

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition July 12, 2014

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Chiefs from Canupawakpa Dakota First Nation and Sioux Valley Dakota Nation said that until floodwater levels drop considerably, it is unlikely that their evacuees will be returning home.

"We don’t want to bring someone home and then need to evacuate them again," Sioux Valley Chief Vince Tacan said Friday.

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Chiefs from Canupawakpa Dakota First Nation and Sioux Valley Dakota Nation said that until floodwater levels drop considerably, it is unlikely that their evacuees will be returning home.

"We don’t want to bring someone home and then need to evacuate them again," Sioux Valley Chief Vince Tacan said Friday.

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