Who's in charge in Attawapiskat?

Band leaders are asking a judge to overturn Ottawa's decision to send in an outside manager

Even though the issue has somewhat faded from view—what’s all this about an “honour killing” trial?—poverty and substandard housing remain in the northern Ontario First Nations community of Attawapiskat. Community leaders are in court today to fight the federal government’s decision to send a “third party manager” to take control of the First Nation’s finances. The band wants Chief Theresa Spence to regain that power, and accuses the government of trying to redirect attention away from the impoverishment of the community towards the band’s management of the community, which announced a state of emergency last year.

“Never did we think that one party would come to us and say, ‘You cannot deal with this yourself. We are the government here, and step aside, we’re coming in,’ ” said grand chief of northern Ontario Stan Loutitt, quoted by the CBC. “To me, that is morally and legally wrong.”

The decision to send in an outside manager is currently under judicial review. The result isn’t expected until late April.

Meanwhile, the government has promised to deliver 22 new modular homes to Attawapiskat. But their delivery has been delayed as officials wait for the solidification of an ice road, the only land route into the community.

CBC News


Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.