Pikangikum, Ontario – Talks with government regarding the removal of Ontario Provincial Police from Pikangikum First Nation continue. At the same time an unexpected consequence of the dispute has been resolved. Nursing staff, who were pulled from the community soon after the Police left, have been reinstated as of the night of Saturday, April 10th.
According the Mathew Hoppe, IFNA CEO, “Chief and Council met with Indigenous Services Canada Minister Miller and key staff on Saturday afternoon. Although the overall Policing issue is still unanswered, the return of regular nursing service to the community is much appreciated news.” As of Saturday night, the normal compliment of Nursing staff returned to the community and resumed regular service.
Since leaving three weeks ago the Community and IFNA were left having to fill the overnight nursing void with temporary nursing support in order to keep the community safe. According to Chief Owen “the community provided extraordinary security measures and personnel to the Nursing Station in order to alleviate anxiety and motivate Government to allow their Nurses to return and help resume operations as soon as possible. We are pleased with the decision to return Nursing services to Pikangikum, and we welcome the nurses back as we consider them part of our community and appreciate their role in keeping our members safe.”
“Now we can get back to the issue of Police Services in Pikangikum,” Chief Owen said.
“Although there are many ideas circulating, we do not yet have a solution that is satisfactory to our Community. We are a proud and strong First Nation; we need a resolution that matches our community’s wishes. This event has taught us that we must have better control of policing and other government services provided in our community, which we now understand are not in our control.”