Fort Chipewyan, Alberta: The Chief of the Mikisew Cree First Nation is once again very upset with the government of Alberta’s recent release of cancer statistics on his community without consulting the community leaders.
“This behavior is once again reminiscent of the way the government of Alberta has treated our community in relation to the public release of cancer statistics related to our community,” said Chief Courtoreille on March 24, 2014. “Why the government continues to undermine the leadership of Fort Chipewyan is beyond me,” added the chief. “Health Minister Horne had promised to get us a copy of the report prior to releasing these statistics and that didn’t happen.”
Chief Courtoreille insists that his community has repeatedly been blind-sided by the government’s action and announcements on cancers since his community raised concerns with observation of unusual and rare and aggressive cancers in his community.
Courtoreille goes on to explain that since the confirmation of excess cancers in the Alberta Cancer Board’s 2009 cancer study of his community, “the government of Alberta has consistently downplayed the significance of cancer in my community and they have done that again today in their reports to the media that there is no reason for alarm of increased levels of cancers in my community.”
The Mikisew Cree and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nations and the Nunee Health Board Society had cancelled a February 2014 meeting with Alberta Health because they wanted to have a copy of the report prior to meeting with them. This meeting was in the planning prior to their knowledge today of the government holding this press conference. “Their tactics are questionable and I am feeling very angry at the moment,” said Courtoreille. “I’ve demanded that Health Minister Horne call me immediately to discuss his government’s actions.”