Two sisters from the Ebb and Flow First Nation in Manitoba say they’re living in dangerous conditions caused by a flood eight years ago.
“You can see the mould from here, see?” says Judy Levasseur.
“It sucks! It seriously does,” adds her sister Lorina Sinclair.
Levasseur and Sinclair say from the outside, their houses look perfectly normal – but on the inside is where the problem is.
And they say they’re not getting any help from chief and council.
“Then there’s mold in here. You can see all that mold,” said Levasseur.
(Mould in the bathroom of Judy Levasseur’s home on the Ebb and Flow First Nation)
Ebb and Flow First Nation is about 230 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
In 2011 it was one of the communities washed out by a flood.
Sinclair said she’ll never forget the day they were told to evacuate.
“Councillors and a couple other helpers knocked on our door and told us we had to leave,” said Sinclair. “We didn’t have that much time to pack anything so, we just grabbed what we needed.”
When the flood happened, the Canadian Red Cross swooped in the help find shelter for those affected – including Levasseur and Sinclair.
But about four months later, the sisters say their mother wanted to go home because of health issues – so they followed her.
(Lorina Sinclair, left, and Judy Levasseur say chief and council are not helping to solve their mold problems)
The band allowed the family to live in this log house from 2011 to 2014.
Sinclair says because their houses were affected by the flood, they hoped their houses would be replaced.
But it didn’t happen.
“When those houses were done, we asked for the keys. ‘Oh, we don’t have them. Go ask this person, oh we don’t have them,’” says Sinclair. “Sure enough, there were already families in our houses and then we asked are we going to get our houses? ‘Oh no, you guys gave your houses away.”
APTN News tried to contact the chief of Ebb and Flow First Nation Wayne Desjarlais to comment on this issue. But calls were not returned.
With no where else to go, the sisters and their families returned to their damaged houses – cracked windows and all.
“When we got evacuated, they vandalised it so the window’s broken,” says Levasseur. “So I just fixed it like that.”
Levasseur says while they were evacuated, people vandalized her vacant house – leaving broken windows and holes in the walls.
“I’ve always been asking and asking and no, they (the band) say they can’t renovate condemned houses,” says Levasseur.
(Levasseur points to a broken window in her home. She says vandals also punched holes in her walls)
The sisters are frustrated because they’re seeing new housing being developed – and with the lack of answers from chief and council.
“They should treat people right,” says Levesseur. “If they want to sit there and be a leader, you should treat your people right.”
APTN also requested an interview with Jerry Daniels, the grand chief of the Southern Chiefs Organization.
Philip Paul-Martin, a spokesperson for the SCO declined the request.