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Attawapiskat Statement

Attawapiskat Statement

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Published by Gillian Grace
Statement by Attawapiska chief and council on notice of third party intervention
Statement by Attawapiska chief and council on notice of third party intervention

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Published by: Gillian Grace on Dec 02, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/01/2013

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Phone:
(705)
997-2166
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Fax:
(705)
997-2116
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Statement
byAttawapiskatChiefandCouncil
on
notice
of
ThirdParty
intervention
ATTAWAPISKAT.
ON.
December
1,2011.
OnNovember
30,2011,
an
official
acting
on
behalf
ofJoanne
Wilkinson,
Regional
Director
Generalfor
Aboriginal
AffairsandNorthernDevelopment
Canada
handdeliveredtoChief
Theresa
Spence,aletter
indicating
thattheDepartmentwasexercisingitsauthorityunder
thetermsofthesignedfundingagreement
with
theFirstNationtoappointa
"Third
PartyManager"tohandletheaffairsoftheFirstNationcitingthehealthandsafetyofthecommunitymembers.Thisrationaleismerepoliticaldeflection
as
the
conditionscitedby
the
Department
are
presentinnumerous
other
First
Nationscommunities,
and
thisrational
has
beenused
by
the
Departmentto
silenceuswhenwebrought
these
conditionstotheattentionofCanadian
society.ThereareexamplesacrossCanadawhereThirdPartyManagers
are
allowing
similarconditionstoexist
while
offering
little
ornoaidetotheirappointed
FirstNation
communities.
The
communicationof
the
decisiontoappointa
modem
day
Indian
Agent
was
donebyaDepartmental
official
whointerruptedaplanningmeetingofthe
communities'emergencyplanningteam,whowerein
the
midstofimplementing
astrategyto
assistthe
people
living
in
tent
framesandshacks.Chief
Spence
uponreceiving
the
notification
was
incensedbyactionsof
Aboriginal
Affairs
Canada,notonlybyinterruptingameetingof
the
communities'
emergencyteam,butalsobythecitedreasonsfortheimpositionof
an
Indian
Agent.ChiefSpenceexpressedsurprisethatafteroveramonthofinaction,theHarpergovernmenthaselectedtoblamethepoorestofCanadiansocietyrather
than
to
offer
assistance.
ChiefSpencesaid
"It
isincrediblethat
the
HarperGovernment'sdecisionis
that
insteadofofferingaideandassistancetoCanada'sFirstPeoples,theirsolution
istoblame
the
victim,
and
that
the
communityisguilty,
and
deservingoftheir
fate."
Chief
Spence
also
expressed
concern
about
commentsrecently
made
in
the
House
of
Commons,
regarding
the
fundinglevelsclaimed
to
be
received
by
the
AttawapiskatFirstNation.Basedonananalysisofthefundingreceivedby
the
FirstNation,fromtheDepartmenttheamountreceivedbytheFirstNationisin
the
rangeof$10,000.00,percapitaonanannualbasisfor
each
onReserve
member,notthe$50,000
as
statedintheHouseandmedia.
We
havetabulated
 
figures
from
2005to2011that
clearly
indicatesthe
funding
receivediswellbelow
povertylinein
Ontario.
Housingandminorcapitalisamere6.5%($6Mover6
years)ofthe
$94M
received
overthe6year
period.
The
funding
receivedbythe
FirstNationis
not
distributed
to
onReserve
members
as
individuals.Itis
used
to
providespecificservices,andprograms
for
thebenefitanduseofonReserve
members.
Thisisbasedonstatisticsmaintainedby
the
IndianRegistry
maintainedby
Aboriginal
Affairsand
Northern
DevelopmentCanada.
The
First
Nationhascompleted
all
ofthenecessaryreportingrequirementsof
the
Department,
including
receivingunqualifiedannualaudits
for
thefundsreceived
from
the
Departmentfor
the
pastsixyears.All
of
these
have
been
reviewed,
and
have
been
acceptedbyAboriginalAffairs
and
Northern
Development
Canada.
If
the
Government
of
Canada
wishesto
re-examine
the
audits
previouslyacceptedbytheDepartment,the
First
Nation
will
welcome,andcooperate
fully
withtheexercise,andthetruecoststooperateinaremote,
northern
environment
will
be
quantified.
The
taxpayersof
Ontario
andCanadashould
be
madeawarethat
the
majority
of
the
$94Mreceivedtosupport
the
AttawapiskatFirstNation
over
thatpast
six
yearsfromAboriginalAffairs
does
notremainorcirculateinourcommunity.
The
majorityof
these
fundsgotosupportthegreatereconomyofNorthernOntario
andCanadaforgoods,materials,services,contractors,legaladviceandauditing
servicestomentionafew,whichinturnsupporturbannorthern
communities
such
as
Timmins,Sudbury,Sault
Ste
Marie,
Thunder
Bay,NorthBay,Toronto,
Kenora
and
Winnipegto
name
afew.
The
majority
ofthese
firms
arenon
Aboriginaltax-payers.
These
are
the
veryissuesfacingthecommunity
of
Attawapiskat,and
many
other
FirstNationcommunitiesin
Canada's
hinterland.Chief
Spence
has
said."On
our
traditionallands,
that
we
once
shared
in
the
past
with
the
visitors
to
our
land,
ourlands,
have
provento
be
bountifulinnaturalresources,
and
have
been
a
benefitto
all
of
Ontario,
andCanada,but
we
were
left
behind.
In
our
territory,
we
have
aworld
class
diamond
mine,
the
pride
ofthe
Canadian,
and
Ontario
governments,aswellasDeBeersCanada.
They
haveeveryrightto
be
proud
of
thatmine,
buteach
party
has
failedtoacknowledge
the
FirstNation
peopleswho
continue
to
use
the
land
as
ourgrandparentsdid."
While
they
reap
the
riches,
my
peopleshiverincold
shacks,
and
arebecoming
increasing
ill,
whilepreciousdiamondsfrom
my
landgrace
the
fingers,and
necklaces
of
Hollywoodcelebrities,and
the
mace
of
the
OntarioLegislature.My
people
deserve
dignity,
humane
livingconditions,forthatour
communityasked
for
the
assistance
from
my
fellowcitizens,for
oursimple
request
for
humandignity,
the
government'sdecision
was
toimposeacolonialIndian
Agent.

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