AFN Chief slams government over Attawapiskat crisis

Calls situation in northern Ontario community a ‘national disgrace’


National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo criticized the Harper government for calling in a third-party manager to make decisions in the community of Attawapiskat, the Globe and Mail reports. The dire lack of proper housing in the northern Ontario community forced its leaders to declare a state of emergency. “This is a national disgrace,” Atleo said in a speech to aboriginal leaders in Ottawa on Tuesday. “We have reason to feel angry and betrayed.” Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have both pointed to the $90 million in federal funding Attawapiskat has received since 2006, alleging that there are accountability issues with the community’s leadership. Theresa Spencer, chief of the Attawapiskat community of fewer than 2,000, has since kicked out the government-appointed third-party manager, contending that her council has been transparent about where they’ve spent the money: on health care, education and social programs, she said. In his speech, Atleo supported Spencer’s claims. He also expressed hope that the situation in Attawapiskat can be a turning point in federal-aboriginal relations. “This really needs to be about breaking the unilateral, externally imposed solutions,” he said.

The Globe and Mail

Maclean’s blogged on the crisis Attawapiskat, and the federal government’s math on the issue:



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AFN Chief slams government over Attawapiskat crisis

  1. I watched CBC last night on this crisis. There has been ZERO homeowner /occupier maintenance performed  on the homes . Holes through the walls at a kick level, fist or 2×4  hole through the front entrance door in the middle of the door , roof with tarps , flooring torn up … guess what thats just neglect …my own house requires regular maintenance and as much as I would like the rest of Canada to pay for my repair  they don’t.  I noticed all the Natives were driving late model full size 4 door 4×4 pickup trucks that listed well over $40,000 each . Why ? No where to drive except around the town  and gas per litre prices in excess of $1.60. My car is a 2000 model ,  my water supply is a cistern and pump put in myself and  we have a septic system for sewage .. As my house needs repair I fix it using money not being spent on a late model expensive vehicle. My community hasn’t received 90 million. Harper has my support …ASK questions !  

    • So watching the program on CBC makes you the expert? I feel your statement is indicative of the amount of ignorance circulating regarding costs. The Indigenous First Peoples of this land had to sacrifice a large percentage of land that is now being used to exploit them on the largest scale ever because while the complaint about these so called vehicles are the topic you should see the amount of land that has been raped, re-invested and permanently damaged land is insurmountable the cost is in the Trillions when it comes to broken Treaties. Ask Questions!

      • Costs must be high in such a remote area. I wish it could just be clear why they’re so high so that allegations of corruption could be confronted head on.

        I understand wanting to self govern but whenever anyone gets help, isn’t there some sort of demand for accountancy?

        I think most people from both sides would be in a better place if there were less inflammatory rhetoric and more cooperation. 

        • According to the Treaties the Natural Resources below two fists high were not ceded, can you imagine the amount of power poles that is? and so many other resources…and then complaints of tax exemption come into play. When can the honesty ever come into play? $900 000 went missing in Samson last year and the accounting firm published their findings and yet no one was charged with anything yet names were published. Is it not a governmental fiduciary responsibility to be accountable and transparent, none of which are policy or practice when it comes Indian Monies. There is something seriously wrong with this scenario!!!!!!!!!

  2. Atleo states that this “needs to be about breaking the unilateral, externally imposed solutions”. He probably thinks it would be a good idea to just send them enough money to build all new houses and let them decide how to spend the money. Oh yeah, we just did that.

  3. Another typical blame game from Atleo. He disappoints all of us greatly especially after meeting with the Prime MInister. Atleo was Grand Chief after his predecessor Phil Fontaine. But Atleo was Grand Chief  for two years and we never heard a word from him. He is apparently the CEO of all natives in Canada.
    In addition natives on reserves are bound by the Indian Act of 1876 and all its amendments.
    Atleo wants Governmenbt help. So when Harper sent in a Government auditor to look at the books the Chiefs WIFE booted him out. That tells you that she wanted NOBODY to look at the books containing the 92 million dollar expenditures. Just another blame game from Atleo with the NDP as cheerleaders. How can any decent Canadian avoid making any comment without being racist. This whole business is insane. “SEND MORE MONEY. WE NEED GOVERNMENT HELP BUT DONT SEND GOVERNMENT PEOPLE JUST CHEQUES. DONT AUDIT OUR BOOKS AS GOVERNMENT HAVE NO RIGHT TO DO THAT.
    GIVE US FREE HOMES AS THAT IS OUR RIGHT….” etc etc etc etc etc.
    Harper has kept his cool but over this business he will be a white haired PM by New Year.
    One big blame game with no accountability. And NO HAMMERS or NAILS on the RESERVE to fix things.

  4. This comment was deleted.

    • That’s an extremely racist comment. You claim they stole money, however the reality is The government of Canada, as well as the British Government stole from the Aboriginal people. We promised them land and resources and the Canadian Government is not delivering on that. How dare you leave such a close minded comment. Nobody in the world deserve to starve and they are trying to live in a third world climate.  

  5. I can’t get anything from the government, so why should the natives. They should be accountable with MY taxes that I have paid for over 40 years.

    • Because the government signed treaties with the Aboriginal people. They are entitled to support and I would be more concern on how Harper is spending your taxes on the G8 summit. 

    • Imagine the tax related to giving up over 90% of 29,000,000 sq. km for tax exemption, maybe it should be renegotiated to more 10% and they will gladly pay taxes and try not to complain if those I happen to dispossess get tax exemption as a result. Or just get on boat sailing to the next promised land! Don’t worry the world is longer believed to be flat!

      • Oh yeah for over 500 years.

        • no longer genius! oops

  6. I wonder where all this rhetoric about “wasted monies” and “open chequebooks” was when it came to Tony Clement and the residents of the Muskokas…the money that was spent in less than a year instead of over 5 years. 

    The difference of course, is that the funds sent to Attawapiskat is completely transparent and fully audited. 

    A bunch of cretins you lot…

  7. if the attawapiskat community had already recieved 90 million dollars since 2006, why are they asking for more money ?
    even if they need more money for housing and schools.. they shouldv’e used the money they received more carefully if they knew this would become an issue..

    • ur so smart and beautiful

    • i didnt put my name as that i put it as courtneys #1 fan js

  8. blehblehbleh..

    • yess fart!

  9. ok, so what im getting from this is that the attawapiskat people want more money for schooling and housing, but they resieved 90 million in 2006? where did that money go? you dont just lose 90 million? they should have made the money last if its gone…

  10. bubblebath…

  11. i love fart js

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