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February 29, 2016

NAN HONOURS ARRIVAL OF ‘HEALING JOURNEY HOME 2016’ WALKERS IN WEBEQUIE FIRST NATION

WEBEQUIE FIRST NATION: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox welcomed the arrival of a group of walkers led by Webequie First Nation member Norman Shewaybick at the completion of Healing Journey Home 2016 to raise awareness of the lack of health services in remote First Nations following the loss of his wife last year.

“Our thoughts have been with Norman and his family throughout this journey and we are pleased to greet them on their arrival home and honour their efforts to raise awareness about the lack of health services in remote First Nations,” said Deputy Grand Chief Derek Fox. “The tragic circumstances that led to this walk is a sad example of how the health care system is failing First Nations. This has led to our declaration of a Health and Public Health Emergency and our call to the provincial and federal governments to commit to a plan of action to begin to address this crisis.”

Shewaybick, a high school teacher in Webequie, his sons Leon, Erick and Brandon and supporters completed their walk in memory of his wife Laura, who was medevaced from the remote First Nation in respiratory distress after the nursing station’s supply of oxygen was extinguished. She passed away while hospitalized in Thunder Bay in October 2015. They honoured her memory by carrying an oxygen tank back to their community, a journey of approximately 1,000 kilometres.

The walk began at the Thunder Bay District Health Unit on February 12. Travelling an average of 120 kilometres per day they completed their final leg of their 1,000-kilometre journey as they arrived in Webequie today.

First Nation leaders and federal and provincial representatives were also in attendance to greet the walkers’ arrival and meet with Chief and Council.

NAN and representatives of the Sioux Lookout Area Chiefs Committee on Health declared a Health and Public Health Emergency for First Nations in the Sioux Lookout region and across NAN territory on February 24, 2016 to address urgent and long-standing health issues caused by the inequality of health and health care services.

For more information and updates on their journey please visit:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/healingjourneyhome2016

For more information on the Health and Public Health Emergency please visit:

Web: www.nan.on.ca/article/health-and-public-health-emergency

Donations to Healing Journey Home 2016 can be made through:

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

Account Name: Healing Journey Home 2016

Branch: 2087

Account Number: 7754590

Download News Release here

For more information please contact:

Norman Shewaybick – (613) 982-5336

Roxann Shapwaykeesic, Communications Officer – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (807) 625-4906 or (807) 251-6876 mobile or by email rshapwaykeesic@nan.on.ca