Update, November 28
The Red Cross plans to be in the community tomorrow “to identify and address urgent, short-term needs.” The community has apparently asked the Red Cross to manage donations to the community, so for all of you who have been looking for a way to contribute, you can donate to Attawapiskat here.
I am very disturbed by this quote:
In a statement Monday, Duncan’s office said the federal government is “deeply concerned about this situation.”
“Since coming to government, we have invested significant funding to the Attawapiskat First Nation,” the statement continues. “Officials from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs are in the community [Monday] to investigate why conditions are as poor as they are, given the significant funding for housing, infrastructure, education, and administration.”
Nothing like an implied accusation of corruption on top of an already incredibly hostile reaction from many Canadians to this story (as evinced by the comment section in any article discussing the community). Keep it classy, Duncan.
I would have written about this days ago, but I am down for the count with pneumonia. Charlie Angus, member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay in the Huffington Post has done a bang up job of describing the intolerable conditions faced by the people of Attawapiskat on the western side of the James Bay. This is a community that needs immediate emergency intervention, and the lack of response to the problem is a disturbing example of how deep indifference and racism against aboriginal people runs in this country.
Yes, that’s right. Racism. The word we supposedly ‘throw around too much’ despite so many examples of it in practice (anyone remember body bags being sent to ‘help’ with H1N1 in northern aboriginal communities?). Conditions like these would never be left unaddressed in a non-native community. It should be unthinkable to do nothing in the face of this kind of need, regardless of whose community it is.
Please, please write the ‘Honourable’ John Duncan, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, to demand action be taken to save the lives of fellow human beings in what is supposedly a developed nation.
You can reach him by email at: email@example.com
Please also CC on this email the following people:
Federal Aboriginal Affairs critics, Carolyn Bennett (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Linda Duncan (email@example.com)
Federal Aboriginal Affairs shadow minister, Todd Russell (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Minister of Aboriginal Affairs for the province of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne (email@example.com)
Provincial Official Aboriginal Affairs critic, Jerry Ouellette (firstname.lastname@example.org).
There is also a petition here. However, personal emails are very much needed.