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Chief says seeing wildfire ravaged Kátł’odeeche reserve for 1st time was emotional – CBC

by ahnationtalk on May 31, 202356 Views

May 31, 2023

How long it will be before members can return still ‘up in the air’

The chief of an N.W.T. First Nation ravaged by wildfire more than two weeks ago was finally able to return to the reserve and survey the damage for herself on Monday.

“It was really emotional going in there,” said Kátł’odeeche First Nation Chief April Martel.

“I’m trying to be positive, and I know we can build our nation back up, like as a nation we will build it back up. But it was pretty — like usually I cry when I see things like that — and it was emotional as I started going further into the community.”

The fire led to evacuation orders for the Town of Hay River and the Kátł’odeeche First Nation reserve on May 14. Hay River residents were allowed to start returning to their unscathed community last week, but Kátł’odeeche members are still waiting.

In the early days of the fire, officials with the territorial government said 15 buildings on the reserve had been damaged. Martel later said 18 families had lost their homes and that five major buildings had been damaged — including the Judith Fabian Group Home.

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