Ashton Joins Sayisi Dene to Call on Government of Canada for Justice

For Immediate Release

Members of the Sayisi Dene First Nation travelled from Northern Manitoba to Ottawa and joined Niki Ashton MP (Churchill) in order to request that the Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs formally apologize for their relocation and announce a plan for healing and compensation.

The Sayisi Dene were relocated and abandoned by government authorities on the beach in Churchill, Manitoba, in 1956. Fourteen years ago, the Sayisi Dene First Nation filed a claim that has yet to be settled by the Government of Canada.

The community members, which included the Sayisi Dene Chief Thorassie and former Chief Ila Bussidor, hosted a press conference, a reading of names of Saysi Dene who have passed away resulting from the relocation and a briefing to MPs with first-hand information about the current situation of the Sayisi Dene and a powerful visual presentation of their history.

Niki Ashton stood in the House of Commons today and asked the Minister of Indian Affairs to meet with the representatives of the community: “The Sayisi Dene of Northern Manitoba are in Ottawa today seeking nothing more than justice. In 1956, the Government of Canada forced them to relocate - a relocation that led to traumas, suicides, and other issues the community is still struggling with. While this Government has apologized to others, this community waits....Today is about a chance for leadership and a new beginning. Will the Minister of Indian Affairs meet with the Sayisi Dene? Will the Government commit to a genuine path to reconciliation?”

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