Manitoba First Nation wants federal help after woman found dead after house fire

TATASKWEYAK CREE NATION- Manitoba RCMP say the body of a 25-year-old woman has been found in a house that burned in a remote Indigenous community.


RCMP say they were called Sunday night about a structure fire in Tataskweyak Cree Nation about 900 kilometres north of Winnipeg.


Once the fire was extinguished, firefighters entered the home and located the woman who was pronounced dead.


Mounties say the cause of the fire remains under investigation and there has been no official information released about the cause of death.


Earlier this year, the community dealt with a fire at an apartment block that sent two people to hospital and displaced eight families.


At the time Tataskweyak did not have a working fire truck and relied on help from the neighbouring communities of York Landing and the town of Gillam.


Chief Taralee Beardy is calling on the federal government to address the gap in fire safety for remote First Nations after the community “scraped together” funds to purchase a new fire truck.


“But we had no one available to train our personnel how to properly use it,” Beardy said in a statement Monday. “The results were fatal.”


Grand Chief Walter Wastesicoot, of Keewatin Tribal Council, said the lack of response from the federal government following the February apartment fire is appalling.


“Another tragic fire, which cost a life this time leaves me disheartened,” he said. “We needed more action from the federal government and didn’t receive it. We need more action from them to give us the ability to fight fires in our communities.”


Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, which represents some northern First Nations in the province, is sending support teams from their mobile crisis response and missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls unit to help the community.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 3, 2023.



Add Your Voice

Is there more to this story? We'd like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Contribute your voice on our contribute page.