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Canada pledges action on First Nation water crisis

The Canadian government on Thursday offered to relocate an entire Native community and clean up the water system amid an emergency evacuation of the Kashechewan First Nation in northern Ontario.

After days of criticism, Canadian officials announced a plan to address a water crisis that has turned into a national controversy. The government said it would improve health care, housing and infrastructure on the reserve. Relocating the community to higher ground would take 10 years.

Meanwhile, the evacuation of 1,700 residents of the reserve continues. The province of Ontario ordered the emergency airlift after E. coli, a dangerous bacteria, was found in the water system. Raw sewage was essentially flowing from the taps.

The Canadian government was shipping in bottled water pending a fix to the problem. But an attempt to flush the water treatment system has apparently failed as bacteria was discovered again by the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, CTV reported.

The Kashechewan evacuees are being sent to communities south of the reserve. People with skin problems linked to the water, elders and children were among the first to be removed. About 250 have already left with another 250 to be flown out today.

Get the Story:
Ottawa promises to clean up water, offers to move aboriginal community (CBC 10/27)
Kashechewan exodus marked by anger, mistrust (CTV 10/27)
Feds announce plan to overhaul troubled reserve (CTV 10/27)
Former council member says treatment plant made too small (CBC 10/27)
ESCAPE FROM KASHECHEWAN (The Daily Globe and Mail 10/27)
Can they build a future? (The Daily Globe and Mail 10/27)
Ottawa accused of racism (CanWest News Service 10/28)
Ottawa offers to rebuild Kashechewan community (CP 10/28)
Emotions run high as residents of Ontario reserve bid goodbye to their homes (CP 10/28)

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Editorial: Native communities still being neglected (10/27)
Opinion: Changes needed so Natives can succeed (10/27)
Conditions on First Nation called Third World (10/25)
First Nations finally invited to top-level meeting (10/24)