Resources re: Attawapiskat

Trying to sort through the muck the HarperCons are spinning around the humanitarian crisis on the Attawapiskat First Nation and First Nations communities across the country?  Well, here are two important resources.

The first is a blog, âpihtawikosisân, in which the writer unravels the HarperCons’ racist spin, including a breakdown of that $90 million the dishonourable PM spoke of in the House of Commons.

The second, shared with permission, comes from Dr. Neal McLeod, a Poet and writer I met several years ago when he lived in SK.  This is his most excellent open letter to the Right Honourable (sic) Stephen Harper:

An open letter to Stephen Harper regarding the situation in Attawapiskat (from Dr. Neal McLeod)

by Neal McLeod on Thursday, 1 December 2011 at 07:45

November 30, 2011

An open letter to Stephen Harper regarding the situation in Attawapiskat

Prime Minister Harper:

Today it was announced that the community of Attawapiskat will be placed under Third Party Management. It seems more than a coincidence that once an Indigenous community speaks out and up about the difficult housing conditions, they are then penalized in a draconian manner by your government. It reflects poorly on Canada that the Red Cross was called in to assist.

kâ-kânâtâ-askiy (Canada) is a rich country. There are many resources at the disposal of the country to assist in the daily lives of Indigenous people. In turn, with the large diamond mine in the area of this community’s traditional territory, this point resonates even more so.

Rather than assess the situation thoroughly, your government simply declares unilaterally that a Third Party Management regime will be established- a move from the co-management structure that had been in place.

It is of the highest order of hypocrisy that that the government stages a military celebration and honouring in relation to recent deployment in Libya. Presumably, this was done to honour the soldiers, which is always a dignified thing to do, but presumably it was also done to signal a triumph for the people of Libya, in terms of having the freedom to live their lives in peace and security- which is of course something to celebrate.

However, why is the freedom and dignity of Indigenous people not held to the same measure and degree in Attawapiskat? Why does your government have no hesitation in sending aid to other countries and peoples throughout the world, yet within its own borders, instead of helping Indigenous people in need, blames them vis-à-vis the establishment of a Third Party regime?

My late grandfather (mosôm), John R. McLeod served in the Canadian army in World War II. He often spoke of the hypocrisy of Canada fighting for freedom for other people abroad, yet Indigenous people had little freedom in their homelands in Canada. It seems that without proper housing and basic living necessities of life, the Cree of Attawapiskat cannot have true freedom , and their basic dignity as human beings will be diminished. It seems, that despite the many decades since my grandfather was a soldier, the fundamental paradox of freedom still permeates the country of Canada at its core.

The measure of any country rests in how it treats those citizens most in need. It seems on this score, in relation to the Cree people of Attawapiskat, your government has failed in a dramatic fashion. Your government acts without honour, and hides behind political sleights of hand such as “third party management.” Instead of blaming the people of Attawapiskat, your government should be working with the Cree people of this community to creatively find solutions.

My great-grandfather câpân, Able McLeod was part of the League of Indians. This grass roots political movement sought social justice for Indigenous people. I have no doubt that they would have done everything they could to assist the Cree people of Attawapiskat. The words, dreams, and honour of my great-grandfather Able McLeod linger in my heart. I am compelled to write this letter to voice the social justice that lingers.

You have a choice. You can continue to engage in a blame the victim discourse, or, you could move towards a discourse and action of honour, and move towards move towards assisting the people of Attawapiskat have basic dignity in their lives. Your choice will speak to the moral foundation of this country.

Sincerely,

Dr. Neal McLeod

*mailed on November 30, 2011

the regina mom encourages you to write your own letters to the PM <pm@pm.gc.ca>.

ADDENDUM:  Please feel free to add links to additional resources in the comments section.

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5 Comments

  1. I’ll add the first addition. The great Alison at Creekside provides this: Attawapiskat vs gazebos.

    Reply
  2. Harper should be forced to resign. That beautiful little baby that died of pneumonia is totally Harper’s fault. The health care for the F.N. is pretty much non existent. That little adorable baby, should have been flown to a hospital. I am absolutely furious, having retired from hospital work. This is pure negligence. Harper’s resignation, needs to be forced.

    The F.N. education is so poor, those kids can’t go on to a higher education. The F.N. schools are an abomination, so damned cold, they have to keep their winter jackets on.

    A F.N. village’s Children had to give up their school. A pipeline burst on their land, made the kids so sick, they had to abandon their school. Many reservations have contaminated water, by pipeline bursts and fracking for gas contamination.

    And as much as the F.N. people are called lazy and drunks. China has sent their people to school, to learn English. They are to work our coal mines. Those jobs were to be for F.N. workers, right on their own land and they were excluded. F.N. citizens are always the last ones to be hired, for anything. Many of them were forced into those horrible residential schools. They were physically abused, sexually abused, they suffered beatings and they were even murdered. I would drink too, trying to forget those atrocities. The First Nations veterans of WW11, weren’t even recognized by this country. What kind of crap is that? Is Canada sure, they can find no more abominations they can heap on those people?

    What if a country invaded Canada and took our kids away and sent them to their schools? They would not be allowed to speak their language, nor would their customs be allowed. What if they were beat, sexually raped and murdered?

    Then we have idiot Harper wasting billions of our tax dollars. Fifty millions on gazebos, one billion on a stupid fake lake. Three million on just, travel expenses. Our F.N. are living, worse than third world country lives.

    Harper has not lived up to, his duty of protecting the people, nor our country. He is no different, than a fascist dictator. He needs to resign, right bloody now.

    Reply
  3. What a disgusting racist this “Dr” is! The color of your skin does not give you the right to sit on your ass and collect $90 million from the working “crackers”. We are tired of paying for the obscene salaries for your chiefs and councils. We are tired of paying for your $88,000 Cadillac Escalades in a community that has no roads–no summer roads anyway. I suppose you want whitey to build you a summer road too. We are tired of paying for your state-of-the-art hockey rinks and brand new $75,000 Zambonis–while you allow your schools to rot. We are tired of paying for your giant Plasma televisions, and we are tired of paying rent on helicopters so you can go hunting. We are also tired of the crimes you inflict on society.

    PM Harper, cut off the funding until these mooches open their books and let the country see how our hard-earned money is wasted by them!

    Reply
  4. Speak for yourself, Extremist, not for us! I am PROUD to pay taxes so that those who are less privileged than me can have it a little bit better.

    And I guess, the word of your forefathers, in terms of the Treaties they signed, means nothing to you, because your blind racism will not allow you to open your heart.

    And you speak of greed. Well, we know from psychological studies, that what irks you on the outside indicates a problem inside you. So, perhaps you want to go there first before striking out at those less fortunate and less privileged than you.

    Reply
  5. Well, then you can donate to these racists, Regina Mom. Quit demanding that others pay more taxes for these racists who think they can use their doors for firewood (too lazy to chop down a tree).

    I work hard for my money and am tired of paying so much tax so these racists can sit on their asses and demand whitey pay for everything.

    Reply

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