In the wake of historic flooding in the NWT, communities are coming together to show their support to residents in Fort Simpson and Jean Marie River.
Morris Neyelle, a 69-year-old Elder, artist, and drum maker from Délı̨nę decided to donate his hand-crafted drum on Facebook to help those affected.
Neyelle started a raffle on social media raising $1,000.
The raffle sold out in just over an hour.
“It shows that we as a community always help each other during times of need,” he said.
He was overwhelmed by the response, he said.
“It really touched my heart.”
Neyelle says he hopes others can do the same, donating whatever they can, to help those affected in the Dehcho.
The Délı̨nę Got’ı̨nę Government collected more donations after North-Wright Airways postponed its flight due to poor weather.
Over the weekend, the community hosted a fishing derby and decided to donate all its winnings as well.
More than 100 trout, two freezers, moose meat, duck, and close to $2,000 in cash donations (including Neyelle’s contribution) will be shipped to Fort Simpson, tomorrow. The items will then be redistributed to residents in Jean Marie River as well.
“That’s just the beginning,” says Chief Leeroy Andre.
Power outages due to flooding left food rotting in freezers in abandoned homes.
Chief Andre is worried about the Elders’ access to traditional foods and is working with roughly 20 volunteers from his community to plan their next steps.
“We have each other,” he says. “A couch could be replaced, a house can be replaced.”
“We have that spirit. That’s something that can’t be broken.”
Pauline Roach is the chief executive officer for the Délı̨nę Got’ı̨nę Government.
She said the deadline for donations is now May 18 at 11 a.m.
Délı̨nę residents are encouraged to bring camping gear, dry goods and meat to the cultural centre. Monetary donations are also highly requested.