June 18, 2024

The surroundings, well being care, an opioid disaster, wildfires and attempting to get an all-weather highway are a few of the challenges going through ACFN.

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As Chief Allan Adam begins his fifth time period as chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN), there are not any shortages of crises going through his group and initiatives to complete. A significant precedence will likely be a more in-depth relationship with the totally different governments and trade teams within the area, since Fort Chipewyan’s issues will not be restricted to the northern group.

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“You’ve obtained the 5 First Nations right here, you’ve obtained the RMWB, you’ve obtained the federal and provincial authorities, you’ve obtained the Métis, you’ve obtained trade. They’re all right here on this area,” mentioned Adam in an interview. “We have to all sit down and discuss and work collectively and in direction of a greater future right here. In any other case we’ll simply maintain issues and assume ‘why can’t we get this completed?’”

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The group is “plagued with well being issues,” mentioned Adam, and Fort Chipewyan wants extra medical doctors and well being specialists. Enhancements to native faculty and extra lecturers are additionally wanted, though Adam says there have been successes in modernizing schooling regionally.

The Fort Chipewyan space remains to be recovering from the trauma of final summer time’s wildfire evacuation, which brought on an evacuation and compelled greater than 1,000 folks to seek out security elsewhere. Fort Chipewyan’s leaders should assist folks get better from the evacuation whereas planning for the subsequent wildfire season.

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The fireplace has additionally worsened an current psychological well being and addictions disaster in Fort Chipewyan. Adam and the remainder of the Athabasca Tribal Council say suicides, drug overdoses and alcohol killed extra folks than COVID-19 did within the 5 First Nations of the Fort McMurray Wooden Buffalo area.

Environmental points additionally proceed to be a priority for Adam. ACFN nonetheless plans to take the Alberta authorities and the Alberta Vitality Regulator to courtroom following their dealing with of a tailings leak at Imperial Oil’s Kearl Lake web site. He hopes to fulfill with leaders of Imperial Oil and different oilsands firms to ensure related incidents don’t occur sooner or later.

Water ranges have additionally dropped round Fort Chipewyan. Adam blames the Website C dam in northern B.C. for the plunging ranges of the Athabasca delta.

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ACFN says a everlasting, all-weather highway connecting Fort Chipewyan both to Fort Smith, NWT or Fort McMurray is essential for Fort Chipewyan’s survival. The group can solely be reached by boat or aircraft if there is no such thing as a ice highway.

The low water ranges have grow to be a priority for locals. Hotter winters has shortened how lengthy the highway can be utilized lately.

“It’s not going to be a simple activity. We have to proceed following up with governments and companies to ensure they perceive our place,” mentioned Adam.

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