July 18, 2017
(Ottawa) – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde issued the following statement today on the ongoing wildfires affecting First Nations and many residents in British Columbia. As of July 17, about 40,000 people have been displaced and 20 First Nations in B.C. are affected by the fires.
“We acknowledge the strength, resilience and in some cases the trauma associated with our families leaving their homes for safety,” said National Chief Bellegarde. “We convey our heartfelt appreciation to the firefighters, first responders, and the countless volunteers and donors that have rallied across Canada to give their support to people in British Columbia.”
National Chief Bellegarde stated the importance of continuing Indigenous practices of fire control to help prevent fires of the scale seen in B.C., Alberta and California in recent years: “We have heard from our communities in the Okanagan about their history as firekeepers and we must honour these roles and traditions passed down from generation to generation. We commend the leadership demonstrated by First Nations and support provided by the First Nations Health Authority and the First Nations’ Emergency Services Society of BC in this time of great need. Our prayers are for the safety and security of everyone affected by the fires.”
The AFN is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.
For more information, please contact:
Press Secretary – National Chief’s Office
613-241-6789 ext. 222
613-241-6789 ext. 254
Bilingual Communications Officer
613-241-6789 ext. 382