The Recovery Task Force has partnered with the McMurray Métis and the Athabasca Tribal Council to create two positions that will help First Nations and Métis communities in Wood Buffalo through their recovery from last spring’s wildfire.
The positions will be funded by the Municipality’s Recovery Task Force and administered by the McMurray Métis and the Athabasca Tribal Council.
This will be a yearlong initiative focusing on the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of recovery for First Nations and Métis people.
“This partnership is an important step towards supporting our First Nations and Métis residents in the region,” said Jeanette Bancarz, Chair of the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee. “We are excited to work together with the McMurray Métis and Athabasca Tribal Council, and look forward to a strong relationship in recovery.”
The McMurray Métis community was immensely impacted by the wildfire as 80 per cent of their members were living in the most damaged neighbourhoods and they lost their local office, formally located just off of Highway 63 in Beacon Hill. The office housed their local government and served as a community hub.
“Today we are proud to announce the creation of this new position that will focus on helping the Métis residents of Wood Buffalo to recover,” said Gail Gallupe, McMurray Métis President. “The loss off our local office and the destruction faced by our Métis community has made it very difficult for our Métis citizens to recover. We are very grateful to the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo for their support and partnership in this endeavor.”
While the office of the Athabasca Tribal Council was left standing in waterways, damages to the building limited access until March 7th, 2017.
The team of 27 staff members had been working out of a temporary office in Riverstone Ridge until then.
“Working together to recover in the wake of the wildfire will make our entire community stronger as a whole,” said Maggie Farrington, CEO, Athabasca Tribal Council. “Our First Nations citizens have faced many hurdles in the wake of the wildfire and continue to meet and overcome the challenges of recovery. We are grateful for this partnership as we work to support our citizens as they make their way toward a new normal.”
Taking on the two new positions will be Bryan Fayant for the McMurray Métis and Lisa Golosky for the Athabasca Tribal Council.
Fayant has a long history within the Métis community and has had a prosperous career in social work.
Golosky has been a resident of Fort McMurray since she moved her from Fort Chipewyan in 1976. She is a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation and has significant experience working in industry, government and First Nations government roles. With a strong connection to the land she is pleased to be a part of the Athabasca Tribal Council as an engagement strategist.