A First Nations businessman is leading the way in providing Bahamians with convoys of aid after Hurricane Dorian struck the nation recently.
Ken Hill is a businessman from Six Nations who has properties in the Bahamas. He says he had to do something after he saw the devastation caused by Dorian.
“We know a lot of people, have a lot of close friends, almost like brothers and sisters,” said Hill.
“They’ve been through a number of storms, but this one was the worst.”
Around 13,000 homes in the Bahamas may have been destroyed or severely damaged by the hurricane, according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.
The UN World Food Programme said that food would be needed for 14,500 people in Abaco Islands and for 45,700 people in Grand Bahama.
Prime Minister Trudeau, meanwhile, announced that he would be giving $500,000 in assistance to the island nation.
Hill, according to the CBC, managed to secure three jets (Dassault Falcon 900, Challenger 850, and a Falcon 20) for his mission.
Hill said the jets will carry supplies of food, water, clothes, generators, and flashlights.
He will travel with volunteers to help provide supplies and rebuild homes.
He has secured a landing spot in Nassau from where he will use helicopters to transport aid to affected areas. The helicopters are being provided by the Seminole Tribe in Oklahoma and Florida.
“Seeing the people, the little kids, the schools, and what they have gone through over the years, it hit home to me,” he said.
“It’s like life on the reservation. They are the less fortunate in their own country, like us, Native people. When it comes to those issues, the Montour family, the Hill family has always stepped up to the plate.”
Hill is working through a charity he established with his colleague Jerry Montour called the Dreamcatcher Foundation.
The duo also owns Grand River Enterprises, a cigarette manufacturing giant based out of Six Nations, a Haudenosaunee community near Hamilton.
Delby Powless, chair of the Dreamcatcher Foundation, said private fundraising efforts to aid the relief effort have hit $200,000 so far.
“It tears your heart out,” said Powless. “Think of losing everything.”
Hurricane Dorian has also made pitfall in Atlantic Canada, where hundreds of thousands of residents have been out of power and many were told to evacuate.