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More donations needed for Treaty 8 evacuees

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By Shari Narine Sweetgrass Contributing Editor EDMONTON







May 11, 2016.

Donations are trickling in and those sorting through the generous gifts say even more are needed.

Photo: Jackie Alook (left) and Debra Loyie supervise donations that are coming into to Treaty 8 for Wood Buffalo evacuees.
(Photo: Shari Narine)

“I’m impressed with how much we’ve gotten, but it’s still not enough,” said Debra Loyie, with the Treaty 8 sub-office in Edmonton.

In the last few days, van-loads of donations have come from Siksika First Nation and Samson Cree Nation.

While there are no exact numbers yet, hundreds of Treaty 8 members were evacuated from Fort McMurray on May 3 and need any help that can be provided, says Loyie.

Members have visited the sub-office on the west side of Edmonton to sort through clothes and other donations.

“Hearing their stories has been something else,” said Jackie Alook, who has been supervising the work undertaken by volunteers in receiving and sorting through donations. “Some look very tired. I think listening to them has really helped them.”

Alook has family who has been evacuated from Fort McMurray. And she’s no stranger to the impact of wild fire as her First Nation, Big Stone Cree, was evacuated last year because of raging forest fires.

“I understand their experience,” she said. “It’s hit close to home for me.”

Van loads of donations from the Treaty 8 sub-office have also headed north to reception centres in Lac La Biche and St. Paul. Treaty 8 Chief Operating Officer Joe Jobin says he has also been directing some Treaty 8 Nations to send their donations directly to member Nations, such as Beaver Lake Cree Nation and Chipewyan Prairie First Nation, who have also taken in evacuees.