Chief Theresa Spence is insistent that the imposition of Third Party Management is morally and legally wrong and is steadfast in her opposition to the actions taken by the federal Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. At the December 15, 2011 meeting between Minister Duncanand Chief Spence, the Minister made it clear to the Chief that the Third Party Management imposition was to oversee the housing crisis in her community. Chief Spence is now bewildered at the actions taken by the Minister and the Third Party Manager and that is tomanage ALL aspects of the Attawapiskat First Nation operations including governance,education, social programming, capital, operations and maintenance of the communitiesinfrastructure.The Chief has issued a letter to BDO Dunwoody, the Third Party Manager to release the $1.5million provided to the Attawapiskat First Nation for the provision of services for the month of January and subsequent monthly transfers to the Attawapiskat First Nation to ensure that essential governance and operations can continue without interruption. The Third Party Manager has refused the request of the Chief citing his contract with AANDC.Chief Spence and her Council continue to feel as if they are being punished by the Minister for the crisis that exists in her community. The Chief has stated along that she would welcome acomprehensive audit to show government and the general public that the Attawapiskat First Nation operates in a transparent and accountable manner with sound management and financial management systems in place. The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs has responded formally to the Chiefs position in this regard and the First Nation is cooperating with the AANDC retained auditing firm for an examination of the records of the First Nation toalleviate concerns about the high costs associated with providing services in a northernremote environment.The Chief and Council of the Attawapiskat First Nation continue to discuss all legal and political strategies with their advisors.Meanwhile, the Chiefs of the Kashechewan First Nation and Fort Albany First Nation havereiterated their call for emergency assistance for their communities as well. Following theOctober 28/11 Declaration of Emergency signed by the Grand Chief, the Chiefs of Kashechewan and Fort Albany had agreed that the immediate focus of the emergency should be Attawapiskat due to the enormity of the crisis there. With temperatures now in the minus
30’s and 40’s , the Chiefs are now calling on the federal and provincial governments to take
immediate action on the housing crisis in Fort Albany and Kashechewan as well. Both Chiefsof Fort Albany and Kashechewan have had initial discussions with AANDC regarding the
housing conditions in their communities including Chief Jonathon Solomon’s usage of a 2007 agreement with Canada to further Kashechewan’s housing and infrastructure issues.
h Chief Solomon’s of Kashechewan and Fort Albany First Nations including the Grand Chief
of the Mushkegowuk Council continue to stand by their northern neighbor Attawapiskat intheir continuing efforts to deal with the crisis in that community including the imposition of third party management by the federal Minister.