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June 4, 2019

Isolated First Nation celebrates Freedom Road



As reported in The Star, for the first time in his life, Chief Erwin Redsky won’t have to fight for each small stone that lies along the 24-kilometre road that connects his First Nation to the outside world after more than a century.

He looks down the long, wide gravel landlink and predicts it is his community’s path to the future.

“This is Freedom Road,” says the chief of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation with a smile.

The road that provides a year-round tie to the Trans-Canada Highway is just the beginning of a long journey toward reconciliation in Canada, he says.

“Shoal Lake 40 has been that model of that broken relationship, and I think Shoal Lake 40 can be that model of that new relationship that needs to happen with Indigenous Peoples of this land,” he said in an interview last week.

The First Nation on the Manitoba-Ontario boundary is planning to hold a four-day grand opening for Freedom Road this week.

Shoal Lake was cut off from the mainland in 1915 during construction of an aqueduct that supplies Winnipeg with drinking water. Clean water flows to the capital city while dirty water is pushed to the reserve. Shoal Lake residents have been under a boil-water advisory for more than two decades, one of the longest in Canada.

Keep reading in The Star


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