The File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council has declared a state of emergency.
Eleven bands within the council made the move Monday due to the threat of imminent flooding on their reserves.
At the same time, the bands are lobbying Ottawa to give them disaster money directly complaining the provincial disaster assistance program is too slow and cumbersome.
Tribal council chairperson Ed Bellegarde says many bands are still waiting for disaster assistance from flooding that took place three years ago.
“You know costs that haven’t been reimbursed, promises that were made, promises broken,” he says “A set of two-tiered rate structures – one for First Nations and one for non-First Nations and that’s why our communities are frustrated. Their cash-flow is depleted, they’re still waiting to be reimbursed in some cases for flooding event damages – costs they’ve borne since 2010.”
Bellegarde says many reserves are grappling with mold issues and will be unable to deal with the fall out from additional flooding.
He says a meeting is planned this week in which the tribal council expects to sit down with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt to address the problem.
In an emailed response the federal government says it is working with the Province of Saskatchewan and First Nations to ensure communities are prepared for potential floods.
It also says that in order to help mitigate flood damages and in preparation for spring 2013, AANDC has also provided over $2 million to over 60 Saskatchewan First Nations for preparedness activities.
The Minister has agreed to another meeting with Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations representatives, later this week, to discuss flood planning and response.