Published on July 22, 2021 by CBC News

One-hundred vulnerable residents of North Spirit Lake First Nation arrived in Sault Ste Marie Wednesday night.

They were forced to leave northwestern Ontario because wildfires are threatening their homes and community.

One whole wing of the Water Tower Inn in the Sault has been set aside for the evacuees, says Cathy Syrette, president of the Indian Friendship Centre.

The Indian Friendship Centre is providing cultural services to the visitors. Other local organizations playing a part in supporting the evacuees include: Algoma Public Health, Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services, Indigenous EarlyOn Centre, Ontario Aboriginal Housing and local social services.

“The mood was very overwhelming, and there’s a lot of tiredness within the group,” Syrette said of the visitors’ arrival Wednesday night.

“We have a lot of elders [who are] 65+, and as well, we have infants and little ones,” she said. “They were also wanting to get to the rooms and to get some good rest,” she said.

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