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New transport option to benefit Indigenous community

“In this instance, there was an identification of about 40 families that could benefit, and they have identified transportation as a barrier. If you can imagine not being able to go to the grocery store when you want to. That’s just unacceptable. Putting this money towards an initiative like this, is Truth and Reconciliation in action.”

Heart of Treaty Six member Rikki Ducharme says the group is a catalyst to bring Truth and Reconciliation to action in Lloydminster and surrounding areas.

Her comments come as the local ATB Financial is contributing $5,000 to assist the transport needs of some area families. Ducharme sees this pilot project as coming under the education aspect of the 94 calls to action of Truth and Reconciliation.

ATB Lloydminster branch manager Brad Asselstine expressed their support for Truth and Reconciliation in the area.

“ATB is very proud to support the Truth and Reconciliation journey in Lloydminster and area. Our way to do this currently was this donation to Heart of Treaty Six for a local transportation initiative that has been discovered as a need in our community.”

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The transport needs will be fulfilled by using the bus service of Border City Connects. Executive Director Glenn Fagnan explains that the family member can call up the service to take them to and from the grocery.

“We’ve got three buses that are out there all day long moving people. And so we are able to incorporate those individuals who are needing to get groceries into our regular schedule.”

Fagnan says they are very pleased to be involved in the pilot project.

Doug Abrosimoff from Lloydminster Catholic School Division along with Clint Chocan from Lloydminster Public School Division are co-chairs of Heart of Treaty Six. Abrosimoff expressed the gratitude of Heart of Treaty Six.

“As a result of the work of ATB, somebody will be getting transportation that didn’t have access to it previously. It [Heart of Treaty Six] is very heavily involved in both school divisions and Lakeland College, at Onion Lake through Eagle View and their schools there. It’s also a great place to get to meet people, to start to know people that perhaps we have not known before. So people from different cultures, backgrounds and economic opportunities have come together to try to build a coalition of interests in Lloydminster.”

Abrosimoff shared on the work of Heart of Treaty Six that has been taking place since December 2016.

“We have ongoing meetings and right now we are working with four sub-groups, one in education, one in health, one in the community and one in financial and business matters. We have got a group of about 35 organizations involved and we are tied to the Office of Treaty Commissioner in Saskatoon. So there’s great work going on and the initiative today is part of that.”

Ducharme looks at how this pilot phase can be sustained.

“We would love to keep it going, so we are looking at about a six month trial period, and after that, hopefully the sky’s the limit. People will jump on board and see that this is a much needed service in the community for our First Nation and Métis families.”

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