Six Nations Cigarette Manufacturer Sends Three Jets With Hurricane Relief Aid to Bahamas

A GOES 16 infrared satellite image of the Atlantic Ocean shows Hurricane Dorian at 10:00 p.m. EDT, Sept. 4, 2019, as a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 120 mph moving northwest at 6 mph near Jacksonville, Florida. Dorian is expected to impact Georgia and the Carolinas as it moves north along the Eastern Seaboard. (U.S. Navy photo via Naval Research Laboratory/Released, Flickr/Creative Commons)

Hurricane Dorian has smashed into the Bahamas, causing widespread devastation and resulting in the deaths of at least 20 people. Now the tropical cyclone, dropping from a Category 5 to a Category 2 storm, is inching up the Southeastern coast of the United States. Meanwhile, a First Nations businessman is stepping in.

Ken Hill created the world’s largest private Indigenous-owned corporation, Grand River Enterprises Ltd., in 1992, located on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve in the province of Ontario. The cigarette manufacturer ships worldwide — namely to Germany, the Bahamas, and across the United States.  

Hill has deployed three jets with hurricane relief aid to the hurricane-stricken islands, reported CBC.  He has teamed up with the Dreamcatcher Foundation to send essentials — food, clean water, clothes, flashlights, etc.

Hill also counts property on the Bahamas. “They’ve been through a number of storms, but this one was the worst,” he told CBC of Hurricane Dorian. “It’s like life on the reservation. They are the less fortunate in their own country, like us, Native people….”

An estimated 14,500 people in the northern Bahamas’ Abaco Islands and some 45,700 people in Grand Bahama are in need of food, the UN World Food Programme said in a statement. 

In addition to sending supplies, Grand River Enterprises is matching dollar donations made by the Dreamcatcher Foundation — which totaled $200,000 as of yesterday. Meanwhile, Wahta Natural Springs Water, a Grand River Enterprises company, based in Wahta Mohawk territory, is sending water. Other donations are coming from Costco purchases.

“Seeing the people, the little kids, the schools, and what they have gone through over the years, it hit home to me,” Hill said.

The Seminole Tribe is also sending helicopters to aid relief efforts.  

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