If you wish to donate to the family affected by this fatal house fire, you can find the GoFundMe, organized by their friend Echo Dumas, here.
For immediate release
February 15, 2022
Treaty Five Territory, Thompson, MB – Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO) Inc. is issuing the following statement in response to a fatal house fire in the Pimicikamak Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba.
On February 12, 2022, a home was engulfed in flames in the community. Four residents, ages 36, 36, 20, and 4, were able to escape through a window. Tragically, three deceased individuals were found inside. The Office of the Fire Commissioner is assisting with the investigation.
Grand Chief Garrison Settee shares:
“I am extremely saddened to hear of a house fire in Pimicikamak Cree Nation, which has claimed the lives of three young people. When someone passes in our communities, we all feel it. When a tragedy such as a house fire takes place, our grief is immense. Most community members have a personal connection to those who are impacted, and it is natural we grieve with them. Grief is an ongoing process and I encourage all those who are hurting to reach out to others for support during this difficult time/
MKO’s Mobile Crisis Response Team is supporting the community. We know there are ongoing issues and concerns with lack of housing, lack of infrastructure, and overcrowded housing in First Nations. We will be examining these issues as we move forward.
I will be travelling to Cross Lake tomorrow to pay my respects in person.”
Pimicikamak Cree Nation Chief David Monias states:
“We are overcome with grief for the family impacted by the fire in Pimicikamak Cree Nation. My Council and I are working to support the family as they await autopsy results and plan for the wake and funerals of these precious children.
Yesterday, leaders from Pimicikamak met with Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, Keewatinohk Inniniw Minoayawin, and Indigenous Services Canada to debrief and to start working on a comprehensive plan to assist the community in responding to this tragedy. Our first goal is to meet the immediate needs of the impacted family and to ensure grief counselling is in place for all those who are impacted by this tremendous loss. MKO’s Mobile Crisis Response Team is in the community to assist.
Although there are 10,000 people in our community, it feels like there are only 100 because we are such a close-knit community. This fire and the deaths of the young people impact all of us. We are all grieving and expect to go through a range of emotions in the coming days, weeks, and months ahead. Pimicikamak Cree Nation has had nearly 20 deaths in 2022 and we have been in a constant state of grief.
Like many First Nations, our community lacks infrastructure. There is no running water in the area where this house burned down. Although we are a large community of 10,000 people, we do not have a fire hall. We have a chronic shortage of housing, overcrowded housing, and hidden homelessness.
This tragedy must be a wake-up call. We are calling on our partners, we need to work together to ensure we do everything we can to prevent another family from experiencing the loss of their beloved children.”
For more information:
Melanie Ferris, MKO Communications
Email: [email protected]