Siksika Nation chief questions federal response to flood
'It's been three months and I'm just tired of living in a hotel,' says resident
Chief Fred Rabbit Carrier of the Siksika Nation west of Calgary says the federal government is dragging its heels when it comes to flood funding for the community badly damaged in June's flood.
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"We would definitely like to find out how much they're going to provide us in funding, so this way we can start working on our planning," he said.
Most of the 1,000 band members displaced are still out of their homes. Rabbit Carrier says the three-month plan is to get mobile homes for most.
Just like other flood-ravaged communities in Alberta, Siksika is faced with the question of whether to rebuild near the river.
"The elders tell us the water is very, very important. It is sacred to our people," said Gerald Sitting Eagle, the curator of the local museum.
But Sitting Eagle is also a victim of its power. He and his wife lost their home of 40 years and everything in it. For months, they have called a hotel room home.
"It's been three months and I'm just tired of living in a hotel, tired of restaurant food," he said. "I just want to be at home."
Despite the draw of the river, Sitting Eagle says they will be looking to move to higher ground.
"I guess me and my wife don't want to go through this again," he said.
Hundreds of band members are also living in temporary trailers. Warren Drunken Chief is grateful his family of six has a roof overhead but feels like he gave up his freedom and privacy.