Innu of Davis Inlet residents feel deserted: Last families face months in ghost town
admin — Wed, 02/12/2003 - 21:05
The historic resettlement, which started last Dec. 14, was supposed to have been completed by March. But 30 of the 133 houses still have not been finished, forcing some residents to spend another spring in their dilapidated homes, many of which have no running water.
Federal officials now say the project will be completed in June.
The community health clinic has moved to Natuashish and the remaining residents in Davis Inlet are worried their school may be shutting next.
Ms. Andrew, a nurse in the community, says she and five other Innu women are trying to raise money for airfare so they can attend a meeting in St. John's today to vent their frustrations about the continuing delays.
The meeting, originally to be held in Natuashish, is for federal officials, project engineers and band councillors from Davis Inlet.
Steven Joudry, regional director-general of the federal Indian Affairs Department, said the meeting is supposed to be for staff only, but residents will not be locked out.
"There's nothing that's going to be discussed that's secret."
Ms. Andrew said she wants the federal government to provide compensation for those families left behind.
The relocation project, which is expected to cost $152-million, was created to help the 680 Innu of Davis Inlet escape deplorable living conditions while helping them overcome widespread problems with alcoholism, family violence and substance abuse.
The community was supposed to move en masse last fall, but construction delays pushed the move back to mid-December when the first 23 families travelled across a frozen strait of salt water to reach the newly constructed town 15 kilometres away.
Last Friday, Ms. Andrew quit her job at the new nursing centre in Natuashish because the twice-daily snowmobile trip across the ice, often alone in blizzard-like conditions, was keeping her away from her children too often.