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Expecting flu assistance, native reserves get body bags from Ottawa

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Caroline Alphonso and Tu Thanh Ha
Globe & Mail
Thursday, Sept 17th, 2009

They asked for help and got body bags.

Aboriginal leaders said they were outraged and confused when dozens of body bags were delivered to remote Manitoba reserves after native communities demanded federal resources to fight a second wave of the H1N1 flu outbreak.

Chiefs interpreted the grim shipments as a dire prediction of what Ottawa expects will happen during this flu season to natives, who were hardest hit by swine flu in the spring.

Some communities didn’t hold on to them for long. In a symbolic protest Wednesday evening, northern First Nations leaders returned a box of the bags to a Health Canada office in Winnipeg. Tossing more than a dozen of the polyethylene bags on the floor outside the building’s lobby, Garden Hill First Nation chief David Harper called the deliveries “an insult.”

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This article was posted: Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 3:29 am

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