Manitoba elders say 2011 flood devastated lives, communities

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Manitoba elders say 2011 flood devastated lives, communities

First Nation evacuees continue to face mental health issues and suicide

CBC News Posted: Mar 17, 2015 2:13 PM CT

Elders, families still suffering from 2011 flood. CBC’s Meagan Fiddler reports.

It’s been four years since a devastating flood hit Manitoba, but those who lost their homes and communities are still suffering, their families say.

Feelings of isolation, mental health issues and increased suicide rates are only some aspects of reality for those who were forced out of the life they knew, elders from four Manitoba First Nations said Tuesday at a gathering held to share their stories.

Marshall Ross says he misses being able to take care of his home.

“I’m getting sick of it now; nothing to do, just sleep and eat where I’m staying. I had my own house, I had a few things to do outside, cleaning up my yard,” he said.

Sharon Pruden

Sharon Pruden looks on as elders share stories at gathering about the effects of flooding. (CBC)

​Sharon Pruden was at the event to speak for her mother.

“She always talked about not wanting to leave her home,” she said. “And she always talked about not wanting to go home in a coffin. … That is how we had to take her home when she passed away on January 30th.”

The gathering, which was organized by the health directors of Lake St. Martin, Little Saskatchewan, Pinaymootang and Dauphin River, is first of its kind: Elders came specifically to talk about the effects flooding has on their lives.

“I always feel like the evacuees aren’t being heard and I always refer to them as the forgotten people,” said Gwen Traverse, health director for Pinaymootang.

Traverse says she hears of crises from evacuees on a daily basis. Read More

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