AMC Supports Chief Bird’s Statement of Claim as Peguis First Nation Declares State of Emergency

May 2, 2024

Treaty One Territory, Manitoba

AMC Communications

Treaty One Territory, Winnipeg – The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) stands in solidarity with Chief Stan Bird as Peguis First Nation files a $1 billion lawsuit against the federal and provincial governments for failing to protect First Nations from frequent flooding. Chief Bird’s statement of claim comes amidst an ongoing housing shortage caused by recurring floods, leading Peguis First Nation to declare a state of emergency on April 30. AMC Grand Chief Cathy Merrick asserts that the recurrent flooding and the resulting state of emergency highlight Peguis’ urgent need for adequate resources, not more bureaucratic obstacles, to ensure the health and safety of its citizens.

“Chief Bird’s declaration underscores a broader trend of paternalistic decision-making by governments towards First Nations in emergency planning,” said Grand Chief Merrick. “Directly providing resources to Peguis First Nation to prepare their citizens for potential flooding would enable a faster response and quicker recovery from the social and emotional impacts of these recurring environmental disasters.”

Grand Chief continued, “We need to move quickly on the development and implementation of a First Nation regional emergency management model as First Nations know what works best in their respective areas and how to respond.”

Governments could face significant legal consequences for persistently disregarding the impact of ineffective emergency management on the inherent and Treaty Rights of First Nations. In 2021, Canada passed legislation committing to implement the provisions of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which emphasizes the importance of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC).

“FPIC is a principle protected by international human rights standards, emphasizing that governments, corporations, and others must respect First Nations’ rights to self-determination and self-government, as well as our right to participate effectively and comprehensively in decisions that may affect our lands, cultures, or environments,” remarked Grand Chief Merrick. “This is not the reality in Manitoba.”

The AMC demands immediate, proactive action from both provincial and federal governments, echoing Chief Bird’s concerns to prevent further trauma and home loss.

For more information, please contact:

Communications Team
Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

About the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs

The AMC was formed in 1988 by the Chiefs in Manitoba to advocate on issues that commonly affect First Nations in Manitoba. AMC is an authorized representative of 62 of the 63 First Nations in Manitoba with a total of more than 172,000 First Nations citizens in the province, accounting for approximately 12 percent of the provincial population. AMC represents a diversity of Anishinaabe (Ojibway), Nehetho / Ininew (Cree), Anisininew (Ojibwe-Cree), Denesuline (Dene) and Dakota Oyate (Dakota) peoples.