Road To Reconciliation | Shoal Lake 40 First Nation


July 2/ 2015

Dear friends and supporters,

Would you please give me a moment of your time and consider my request for you to read and sign a petition.

In summary we’re asking the House of Commons to:

 Please honour your fiduciary obligation to the people of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation by funding your share of the cost to build them a permanent all-weather road, linking their community to the Trans Canada Highway (after 100 years forced isolation) so that they may have reasonable access to the means of economic exchange and development, and to their basic human right of clean drinking water.

Last week, the city of Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba agreed to split the costs of the road three ways with the federal Government, but tears of despair flowed from the Shoal Lake community to hear that the federal government refuses to commit to the project.  This is the same government that refuses to build a water treatment plant on the reserve because without a road, it’s too expensive.  The community has been on a boil-water advisory for 17 years.

This is a shameful situation.  Will you join me by signing the petition?  I’m going on CTV on Friday morning to talk about this and we’d like as many folks signed on by then as possible.

We may not be respons-ible for the injustices of the past. But we are response-able now.

Here is the link to the petition: Road To Reconciliation… 

(To share this to social media or to your church communities copy and use URL: )


Another way to show solidarity with the community at Shoal Lake 40 First Nation is to contibute to the crowd-fund campaign to raise the money our Goverment won’t commit to. My business, Signpost Music has contributed, as will my wife Nanci and I.   Contribute HERE…


Thanks so much. This is very important to me, and I’ll take some time to blog about why in the near future.

Peace friends,

Steve Bell


PS: A brief article about the situation can be read here: Tears of Frustration / WPG Free Press

A short documentary about the ongoing struggle can be found and viewed here: Shoal Lake 40 – Freedom Road

Watch my interview with CTV’s Sheila North Wilson HERE…

7 thoughts on “Road To Reconciliation | Shoal Lake 40 First Nation

  1. Every Canadian needs & deserves access to clean drinking water. Shame on you government!

  2. Shame on the government to allow this disgraceful to situation to last these many years. Shame on both Liberals and Conservatives!

  3. Government transparency is definitely missing when no explanation is given for not fulfilling a Federal “promise” in 100 years! Silence and avoidance on their part speaks to a hidden agenda, dishonesty and discrimination, when two provinces are ready to step up and do our part. In MB we are grateful for our water from Shoal Lake and join with the residents in their pursuit of justice. Time for the Feds to fulfill their commitment and duty!

  4. If you sign this petition, be aware that Sum of Us will start sending you multiple emails looking for donations. I forwarded the link to my friends and, so far, two of them have had multiple emails looking for money.
    – Reply from Faye – yes – Steve apologizes for this aspect, as he didn’t know it when signing up for the petition. But it is very easy to unsubscribe at the bottom of their emails.

  5. Deep thanks to Steve for lending his support to this cause.
    Regarding “Sumofus”: it is true that they do ask for money
    some of the time, and I must say that I don’t agree with them
    all of the time. However, they provide a useful social justice perspective on many issues. As Faye noted, it is not hard to

  6. Hi Steve,
    I just read your latest Facebook post on IR40.

    After I posted my first comment to you last month I came across an article By David P. Ball, 24 Jun 2015, (which is also sympathetic to the plight of IR40)

    It seems to answer the question that I posed to you: “Why not build a 200Meter bridge to IR 39 and use the existing 15KM road to Hwy #17 ?” The fact is that the Federal government offered to build such a bridge in 2002 and it was rejected by the chief and council of IR 39. This whole matter could have been resolved years ago at a fraction of the cost of freedom road.

    It seems incredible to me that this fact is never mentioned by you or anyone else leading the cause for IR 40. Don’t you think that this should be talked about and that IR 39 should bear some of the responsibility for the current situation? Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Canada should not be the only ones getting a black eye from Human Rights Watch and/or the UN.
    I wonder if anyone from Human Rights Watch knows about this.

    IR 39 could still step in at this point and get over their obstinance for the sake of their brothers and sisters across the channel.

    Best Regards
    bob van aertselaer

    Link to article above

  7. Bob – Sorry, my bad for not responding to your earlier question. It has been adressed in the FAQ document shared on the Churches For Freedom Road website here: FAQ. So, here is the ready response I have available to your question, but I’ll happily send the exact question you have posed to the people most impacted by the situation and will post their response if it is significantly different from that which is offered here:

    It’s important for anyone new to the issue to appreciate that Freedom Road is the outcome of many many years of investigation, deliberation and research by a large, diverse group of very qualified technical and political people representing the many governments having jurisdiction in the issue. By far, the greatest amount of careful and creative consideration of the problem has been undertaken by the people of Shoal Lake 40 whose very survival turns on the resolution of the access question. You can be assured that they have thought of every possible way of getting secure access to their homes.
    While there are other complexities, secure access through Iskatewizaagegan #39 Independent First Nation is not possible because establishing a “right of way” would require that community to “surrender” (an Indian Act term) their own right to that portion of their land. Knowing the negative consequences of Winnipeg’s imposed “right of way” across Shoal Lake 40 reserve it should come as no surprise that a “right of way” is a non-starter.
    It’s worth noting that over the years a Mayor of Winnipeg and former Minister of Indian Affairs personally attempted to explore this option and concluded that the western access was the only feasible option.

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