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