A hundred communities like this?

by Aaron Wherry

Peter Mansbridge talks to Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo about Attawapiskat.




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A hundred communities like this?

  1. Yeah, there are….and there shouldn’t be even one.

    And yeah, it comes up all the time….and then gets forgotten again

    I’m sure when the Perimeter deal comes up next week,  this story will slip from the news as well.

  2. The best comment I heard on our treatment of Aboriginals and Natives went something like this:

    “The problem is they don’t own anything. We keep throwing money at them, and so most them receive more money than the average Canadian make working, but it’s still not their money because they didn’t work for it. They have lots of wealth and lots of toys but they own none of it. So of course they waste and trash it, from their perspective, it belongs to no one.”

    I have no comment about whether they receive too much or not enough money from the government, but this supposed crisis is not that much of a crisis and is not our fault.

    • Yes, it’s a crisis. People are dying, and yes, it’s our fault.

      It happens because of ignorance like yours.

    • Harper’s challenge is to keep people like you onside.  and do something meaningful.  I wish him luck.

      • I was paid by Trudeau to build those houses, not Harper. It’s also not Harper who compelled the Natives to completely misuse those houses, break down doors and windows, rip up the floor board to make a fire in the living room, let the plumbing freeze and burst, or even set fire to the entire house.

        People, you’re going to have to consider that they don’t actually need our help. That they have gone through worse winters with less resources. That the more bleak they make their town look the more money we send their way. That all you see on television is a very well crafted PR story.

        • Really?  Was there any other way to provide heat?

          Had they ever lived in houses before?

          Oh wait…your feelings were hurt….so you’ll let 500,000 people die.

          • Emily, it’s a waste of time to respond to indie_light, who’s mind is closed & likely nailed shut.

          • Yeah probably….but I always feel I have to try at least before abandoning hope.

        • Thanks for making my case.

          • You two are commenting under assumption that because I’m against throwing money at reserves then turning our back then I also have a racist vendetta against Natives. Wrong. I the one that says Natives are so helpless we need to throw more money at them is the biggest racists here.

            You’ll need to stop watching TV and get over here to understand what’s really going on.

          • No, we shouldn’t be throwing money at reserves and then turning our back on them.

            And no, they aren’t helpless, they are restricted by the Indian Act and various other laws.

            No one is ‘watching TV’ and we are all aware of what’s going on.

          • The phrase ‘throwing money at them’ is totally inflammatory and inaccurate. 
            Where exactly do you live if you’re so close?  Are you collecting the Northern Living Allowance – because it would be hypocritical to have your location subsidized wouldn’t it?

        • Thanks for that remarkable insight Pierre Poliverre.

  3. The government cannot live the lives of these people.  The government cannot wake them up early in the morning every day, brush their teeth, dress them, get them to go to work, drive them home, help their kids with their homework, maintain their homes, and put them to sleep at night every day. At some point, these people have to take responsibility for their own lives.  

    • Then perhaps we could get rid of the Indian Act and free them to do so.

    • It was the chief who went to the MP and the media to bring this to public attention.  She is now being punished for doing so.

    • Good one – it doesn’t mention that it has cost over $23 million + for the temporary housing in Winnipeg.

  4. Reposting this….
     
    JMHO the biggest problem is not making the point that there are nearly 640 bands with reserves spread from sea to sea to sea and they are all different.   You have stellar examples like Chief Clarence Louie’s Osoyoos Band to Attawapiskat.   Of course location is a huge factor in in any bands success, yet I live 10 city blocks from one of the wealthiest Squamish reserves in North Vancouver and the political in-fighting that goes on is unblievable.  They collect $$$$ from hotels, shopping centres etc. leasing their land and every man, woman and child gets a cheque every month from the rents.  But our Lions Club gets requests every year for over 300 Christmas baskets for the poor families!
     
    A good read is “Dances with Dependency – Indigenous Success through Self-Reliance” by Calvin Helin.  He estimates that at least 40% of the reserves are dysfunctional.
     
    Stories like this make me very angry – how the hell can they treat their own people that way??
     
    “Three directors of an aboriginal housing association in Edmonton wrote cheques to themselves with public money worth nearly $700,000, court records suggest.
     
    The directors continued to take money from the association’s operating account even as tenants had their utilities cut off and were forced to cope with backed-up sewers.
     
    Court records contain dozens of cheques for “travel” drawn from the account of the Amisk Housing Association by prominent native leader Mel Buffalo of Hobbema, along with fellow directors Lawrence Willier and Geordy Saulteaux.”
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/story/2010/09/10/edmonton-housing-associations-cmhc.html
     
     
    My father worked for CMHC for 25 years on the actual planning and design for native housing.  Every few years he got to do a road trip to have a first hand look at finished projects, usually N.B. or northern Ontario along Hwy. 17 or 11.  Most were fine (I probably still have the photos kicking around) but on one reserve near Thunder Bay, 20 two year old homes totally trashed.  Doors were ripped off and burned, windows smashed, appliances thrown out on the ground.   Why??

    • There definitely has to be some dialogue about why things are “desperate” on 100 reserves but not on 540 other reserves.  What has worked (some reserves are ‘dry’).  Location is an issue but if that is so then why would an isolated Northern Ontario reserve refused to be re-located to an area that is less isolated?  If you have ever heard Chief Clarence Louie of Osooyos speak, you would know that he has some definite ideas around what is needed to turn the fortunes of First Nations people around.  If he were white, Emily would accuse him of wearing a bedsheet and cowboy boots.

      • Chief Clarence Louie of Osooyos….ahh, you mean the ‘good Indian’.

        PS there are no ‘dry’ reserves.

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