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COMMUNITY REPORT: Most members of Wrigley prepare to go out on the land

Wrigley has few services and residents must drive 220 kilometres to Fort Simpson for most food and supply needs. photo courtesy of Bill Bennett

Most members of the community of Wrigley are preparing to go out onto the land in the next few days to self-isolate, hunt and fish.

"We just got our grocery order from Edmonton. Everybody is buying gas and getting ready and getting set to go," Chief Maurice Moses told NNSL Media on Thursday.

The chief said about 100 people of the 120-member community will leave shortly, including himself.

Wrigley sits at the end of the Mackenzie Highway, 220 kilometres northwest of Fort Simpson. Google Maps image

Their plans to go out into the bush come before Wrigley has received its share of the $2.6 million allocated by Ottawa for transportation, fuel, food, and medical equipment for NWT Indigenous people who want to self-isolate on the land.

RELATED REPORTING: COMMUNITY REPORT: Minimal services leave Wrigley vulnerable to Covid-19 outbreak

"They say (the money) is still in process. We haven't received it yet," Moses said. 

"I'm going with my (sons) tomorrow. My wife is working for the health centre so she has to stay here. Just the band staff will stay here to look after the Elders.

"I just bought a new skidoo so me and my kids will head out. We’ll go to Fish Lake too and do some ice fishing. And my third oldest is in Yellowknife and he’s self-isolating, once he gets over that he’ll come home and hopefully join us too."  

Moses hopes to catch trout, walleye and pike.

Members heading out will sleep in their own canvas tents at night and others have cabins by the lakes in the area. Families will head east to Fish Lake, to the islands on the Mackenzie River south of Wrigley and to an area that Moses refers to as "old town" that lies north of Wrigley.

Moses and his family will go out for a week or two, return to the community and then leave again to hunt for ducks.

The chief previously told NNSL that some hunters in the community were going to hunt and fish to provide for other members so that Wrigley didn't have to depend as much on driving 220 km to the Northern Store in Fort Simpson.

Moses confirmed that this week two family members brought back a bull moose they had shot and made dry meat with it.

"You can make about 10-15 pieces out of the hind quarters. Hopefully we’ll get another. Fish lake has caribou too. We’re going to keep busy!"

Even though the community erected a barricade on the Mackenzie Highway earlier this week, barring entry to non-members, Moses said he doesn't necessarily feel any more secure about the risk of Covid-19 reaching Wrigley.

RELATED REPORTING: COMMUNITY REPORT: Wrigley sets up barricade to protect against Covid

"It’s a pretty serious virus. I'm kind of really afraid of it. Wrigley only has a few Elders. I'm really afraid for them.

"But hopefully the virus doesn't come up here because we don't have a doctor or a nurse. We’re going to pray everyday, it helps."