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Margaret Traverse, who has lived at the Lake St. Martin reserve her whole life, speaks on the phone as a housekeeper cleans her room. She says she feels confined to her small hotel room without access to a kitchen to cook meals or supplies to complete simple house chores. ‘I thought we were going to be here for a little while. I just packed a little bit of things in my bag and we took off, leaving everything back home,’ she says. ‘I do everything at home. Cleaning up, planting my garden, planting flowers and now I don’t do anything at all here.’MICHELLE SIU/The Globe and Mail

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Margaret Traverse prays at a Christian church service in Winnipeg. She attends church services multiple times a week as it is one of the few opportunities she has to leave her hotel, located far from the city centre near the airport.MICHELLE SIU/The Globe and Mail

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Natalie Forbes tries to calm her crying grandson Lucas as she walks up and down the halls of her temporary home in a hotel in Winnipeg that she shares with her daughter. Ms. Forbes has been shuffled to numerous hotels over the past two years before settling into the one-bedroom place here. She has yet to return to the reserve since she was evacuated, and her house has since been demolished.MICHELLE SIU/The Globe and Mail

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Kassidy Pelletier, 16, walks through her childhood home on the reserve to see the house before it is demolished. Kassidy was doing dishes in this kitchen when she heard about the evacuation; on her short return visit, she found her house had been looted and vandalized, like many other homes on the reserve.MICHELLE SIU/The Globe and Mail

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Diane Sinclair, 47, whose 21-year-old daughter Alexis took her life weeks after the evacuation, visits her daughter’s grave at the reserve this summer with her four-year-old granddaughter Danielle Sinclair-Traverse. The mother of nine now cares for Danielle as well. At least 18 people from Lake St. Martin have taken their lives since May, 2011.MICHELLE SIU/The Globe and Mail

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A note found in one of the homes on Lake St. Martin reserve. Many of the people who were evacuated to Winnipeg thought they would be back in a matter of days or weeks and were not prepared to be displaced for more than two years.MICHELLE SIU/The Globe and Mail

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Kassidy Pelletier was one of four Grade 9 students who graduated in June out of 14 students who initally enrolled that year. She gets help with her cap from her mother Jenny Pelletier before making her Grade 9 valedictorian speech at a temporary school in Winnipeg for Lake St. Martin students. She is now attending a school in Winnipeg.MICHELLE SIU/The Globe and Mail

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Rosey plays at a video lottery terminal (VLT) at the Victoria Inn hotel on the day that living-allowance cheques are issued. Everyone from the Lake St. Martin reserve picks up their cheques at the hotel, no matter where they live, but many of the hotels housing evacuees have VLTs and beer vendors available onsite. A year ago this month, the evacuees’ living allowance fell from $23 a day to $4 a day, although they are still able to collect social assistance or work.MICHELLE SIU/The Globe and Mail

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