First Nations News

This is such a big story I think it deserves it's own thread. Keeping all of the info in one place where people can find it. I have gone back to some of the open threads and pulled links from there to add here to give a kind of timeline from last weekend forward... Feel free to add to the list....

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Tuesday, 12 April 2016, 10.24 EDT

The Canadian First Nation suicide epidemic has been generations in the making

Eleven people tried taking their own lives on Saturday. This is a catastrophe that Canada should have seen coming

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Tuesday, Apr. 12, 2016, at 2:49 p.m.

Here’s What Young People In Attawapiskat Say They Need To Fight The Suicide Crisis

Young people in the remote Northern Ontario community came together to brainstorm.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The true tragedy of Attawapiskat

Award-winning author Joseph Boyden reflects on his love for places like Attawapiskat, and the desperate need for investment and education

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CBC | By Susana Mas, CBC News
Posted: 04/13/2016 5:40 pm EDT Updated: 04/13/2016 6:28 pm EDT

Jean Chrétien's Comments On Attawapiskat Criticized In Commons

(At the same link above you can watch some of the emergency debate from Parliament about this terrible issue)

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April 13, 2016 8:54 PM ET

Christie Blatchford: Chrétien was right. Maybe the kids in Attawapiskat need to break their ‘trauma bonds’

Poor old Jean Chrétien.

He’s already been called an “assimilationist” (in the House of Commons this week, by NDP MP Niki Ashton) for daring to suggest that perhaps some of the people of Attawapiskat, the remote northern Ontario reserve now effectively on suicide watch, might want to head somewhere more hospitable

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CBC News Posted: Apr 13, 2016 12:30 PM ET| Last Updated: Apr 13, 2016 8:48 PM ET

Idle No More, Black Lives Matter protesters demand action on Attawapiskat suicide crisis

blm support inm.png

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

THIS is why the First Nations People don't just move away from these reserves, isolated or not...this is their HOME, and has been for thousands of years. THANK YOU GreyWolf for teaching me something new today!

Asubpeeschoseewagong First Nation is an Ojibway First Nation band government who inhabit northern Kenora in Ontario, Canada. Students at Grassy Narrows wrote and recorded an original song inspired by their home community.

Full music video

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They did a fantastic job with their song.
What a nice line...."this is home to me". We all need t-shirts with that phrase on it....it might help us to remember to respect the land.

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Oldest Son Of A Sailor's picture

I went to their YouTube Channel and "Subscribed," listened to and gave the "Thumbs Up" to every song...

You should all do the same to help promote their music on YouTube...

Their songs are available on iTunes where they can be purchased for $0.99 each...

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"Do you realize the responsibility I carry?
I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House."

~John F. Kennedy~
Economic: -9.13, Social: -7.28,
Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

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elenacarlena's picture

Chretien used to be the Indian affairs minister, too. Once a paternalist, always a paternalist, I guess. And that article, "Chretien was right"! The tribe is like an abused woman? The solution is to drag the kids out of there? If the tribe is being abused, how about changing the behavior of the abusers, shouldn't that be the first focus? There is no economic base, "except for the DeBeers diamond mine"? The reservation has substandard housing, etc., etc. How about they fix the diamond mine contract so that the Indians are enriched by their diamonds, not exploited for them? How about the government provide standard housing and other infrastructure that they provide for the white part of the country? Wow, tone deaf, tone deaf. I'm glad to see BLM standing up with them, though. That's what we need, solidarity, we're all in this together. Please keep us posted.

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Haikukitty's picture

Much better to get the people out and get them inserted into the corporate machine. We already know that works. We'd have to change the entire way we operate in order to treat indigenous populations with respect, and that's just not realistic.

/snark

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

elenacarlena - you wrote;

"If the tribe is being abused, how about changing the behavior of the abusers, shouldn't that be the first focus?"

In a paternalistic world abuse is ALWAYS the fault of the abused...not the abuser. Aggressive

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

This is JUST being reported and isn't online yet. I am watching it live on CBC... I will have more as it becomes available. This will effect 200,000 Métis and 400,000 non-status aboriginal people.

Edit: Unanimous Supreme Court decision gives Métis "Indian" status under Canadian Constituion.

Supreme Court rules Métis, non-status aboriginals are "Indians" under Canada's 1867 Constitution

SEAN FINE - JUSTICE WRITER

The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Apr. 14, 2016 9:54AM EDT
Last updated Thursday, Apr. 14, 2016 9:55AM EDT

The Métis are “Indians” within the meaning of Canada’s 1867 Constitution, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday, setting the stage for possible negotiations over land and government education and health programs.

And non-status Indians, those of aboriginal ancestry who for various reasons have not been permitted to register for federal benefits, are also within the definition, the court said.

“Both federal and provincial governments have, alternately, denied having legislative authority over non-status Indians and Métis,” Justice Rosalie Abella wrote for the court. “This results in these Indigenous communities being in a jurisdictional wasteland with significant and obvious disadvantaging consequences. While finding Métis and non-status Indians to be “Indians” under s. 91(24) [of the 1867 Constitution] does not create a duty to legislate, it has the undeniably salutary benefit of ending a jurisdictional tug-of-war.”

edit: Live feed Canada's top court to rule on Métis, non-status Indian rights

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eom

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

You have the power to create change.

Imagine being unable to access clean water from the tap, knowing that the water is unsafe for your children. Imagine your child's body erupting in sores and boils from being washed in contaminated water. Imagine your government doing absolutely nothing for over a decade. This is the situation facing over 100 First Nations communities in Canada right now, where some communities have been under boil water advisories for over 20 years.

It is shameful that, in one of the G8 countries, thousands of people do not have access to clean water. Increasingly shameful is that the UN has recently released a report calling on Justin Trudeau and his government to address the issue. Clean water should be an obvious right in this country and yet First Nations' communities are ignored in their calls for help from the federal government.

The issues range from mercury contamination to inadequate sanitation systems leading to invasive, antibiotic-resistant infections in children and increased illness and poor sanitation in the general community.

Sign now to help hundreds of children access clean drinking water. By signing you are making the statement that water is a right and that the water crisis facing First Nations in Canada can no longer be ignored.

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enunciate the "s" on Metis. there aren't a lot of french words in which a terminating "s" isn't silent.

anglophones usually don't pronounce it, but sometimes some of them do (even individuals can be inconsistent from one sentence to the next), especially if there's "liaison" with a vowel in the following word, and especially especially when it's being used as a group plural, as in "Yeah, so, the may-TEEZ are fighting to get treaty status, eh?'

i wonder if it's a regional thing.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

French...so I don't know.

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to a Manitoba francophone, except for the time in Junior High when we went to a french-canadian restaurant and the staff were instructed to only speak and respond to French.

so when I talk about francophones pronouncing anything, i mean, francophones who are speaking English -- but when doing so, they usually use french pronunciation for french words.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Gerrit's picture

yes, the final "s" in Metis is silent, as many French words are with a final "s." The "t" is pronounced around here something like "tsz."

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Resilience: practical action to improve things we can control.
3D+: developing language for postmodern spirituality.

Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

Ontario Announces 24-Hour Mental Health Support
By The Canadian Press
Posted: 04/14/2016 7:09 am EDT Updated: 1 hour ago

ATTAWAPISKAT, Ont. — Ontario's health minister announced measures Wednesday aimed at helping an isolated First Nation cope with a suicide emergency.

Eric Hoskins visited Attawapiskat, near James Bay in northern Ontario, and met with leaders to discuss the crisis.

He announced that the province will provide up to $2 million for a so-called youth regional co-ordination unit and deployment of additional health-care workers and support staff to the community.

They include four psychological health workers, up to five nurses, two security staff, one communications officer and one incident manager.

Those workers will provide around-the-clock mental health support, and evening and night nursing clinical support, Hoskins said.

"Our government will be working with the community in the coming days to determine other supports and investments that can be made to help address this crisis,'' Hoskins said in a statement.

"The provincial government, the local band council and the community will hold a forum to develop a long-term plan to support the community to ensure the people of Attawapiskat — particularly youth — feel safe, respected and supported.''

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riverlover's picture

It sounds like bringing in grief counselors to schools after...incidents. Like scurrying hens. I hope there is a long-range plan for mental health care there, something lacking almost everywhere. Too many incidents in Northern Tribal areas. They have no hope. Some kids are trying, support their ideas, someone.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

at least it is something...and hopefully a START at getting these people the help they need...and far more than ~just~ mental health...

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

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LeChienHarry's picture

I have been impressed in the past when we had Native Netroots News and partnerships with reservations.

I hope this ruling will lead to specific and real progress for Native people in Canada.

Then we the people in the US, should press for the same here. Is there ever legislation regarding Indians in the US?

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

in legislatures, state or fed, about Native affairs.

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Gerrit's picture

you will continue this FN thread somehow. It is very important and topical.

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

Attawapiskat residents remain loyal to the troubled community
CBC News Posted: Apr 14, 2016 9:29 AM ET| Last Updated: Apr 14, 2016 3:02 PM ET

Many feel a deep attachment to the land; others would leave if they could, but it's not so easy

At Jerry Nakogee's camp, where dozens of Attawapiskat youths have gathered for an evening bonfire, the longtime resident, who says his son recently attempted to kill himself, explains why he would never leave the remote First Nations reserve.

"When you grow up in a small community, you adapt to the community. You just can't leave, just like that," said Nakogee, who used his camp to host the youth community event. "You can't run away from big problems. You have to deal with them. There's always a way to deal with problems like this."

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Gerrit's picture

provide real help real fast.

BTW, I've searched for ways to donate, but I can't find out how. Do you know?

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

Attawapiskat trip leaves Ont. health minister devastated yet hopeful

The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, April 14, 2016 11:59AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 14, 2016 3:46PM EDT

TORONTO -- Ontario's health minister says his visit to a remote First Nations community in the midst of a suicide crisis was just as devastating as the years he spent as a doctor in war zones around the world.

Eric Hoskins travelled on Wednesday to Attawapiskat, where dozens of youth have tried to kill themselves over the past few months.

In addition to a three-hour meeting with community leaders, he also sat down for a few hours with dozens of young people, all of whom have been touched by suicide, including friends and family members either killing themselves or trying to.

Among those in attendance were children around the same age as the nine-year-old who was part of what officials called a suicide pact by 13 young people on the reserve earlier this week.

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

Suicide crisis is national problem

BOB RAE
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Apr. 15, 2016 6:00AM EDT

Bob Rae teaches at the University of Toronto and is the author of What’s Happened to Politics? He is a partner at Olthuis Kleer Townshend, a law firm that acts for First Nations across Canada.

*snip*

The trouble with colonialism is that it deprives people of the ability to create their own futures and shape their own destinies. The mending of hearts and treaties that is so desperately needed is not easily matched by deeds. Crisis intervention is necessary, but we also must find a practical strategy that will give all indigenous people a chance to make a livable present and a better future.

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

First Nations Health Care Needs 'Drastic Change,' Doctor Tells Committee

The Canadian Press
Posted: 04/14/2016 10:16 pm EDT

OTTAWA — The system used to deliver medical services to First Nations introduces unnecessary barriers to care and often prevents doctors from doing their jobs, an Ontario physician bluntly told a parliamentary committee on Thursday.

Dr. Michael Kirlew, a doctor based in Sioux Lookout, Ont., urged the federal government to take "drastic change" to save lives.

"The more time that we wait, the more children will die. I appeal to you today, not as politicians, not as members of political parties ... let's return the humanity to this process. This process needs that humanity."

Kirlew, who travels to communities near Sioux Lookout to provide care, said First Nations people living on reserve receive a standard of health care that is far inferior to what other people get.

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

Feds, Ont. First Nations sign settlement over Camp Ipperwash

Diana Mehta, The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, April 14, 2016 11:17PM EDT

women.jpg

A bitter and bloody land dispute between Ottawa and a southwestern Ontario First Nation that culminated in the police killing of an aboriginal protester two decades ago has formally come to an end.

The federal government and the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation signed an agreement Thursday to return Camp Ipperwash, a former military base built on land appropriated in 1942, to the First Nation.

The agreement also gives the First Nation $95 million "to invest in a brighter future."

"This is the day the community will finally realize the land is being returned," said Chief Thomas Bressette. "Today, WWII is finally over for the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point with the closure of the taking of our lands in 1942. We look forward to a better relationship with Canada going forward, and today marks a new beginning."

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

Occupy INAC focuses national attention on Attawapiskat

On Wednesday, Indigenous activists and their allies, including members of Black Lives Matter in Toronto, began an occupation at the INAC offices. Now in its second day, the #OccupyINAC action has inspired similar sit-ins at INAC offices in James Bay and Winnipeg. A solidarity rally is planned tonight outside the occupation at 25 St. Clair Ave E in Toronto, beginning at 6:30pm.

Ricochet has been present throughout the occupation, producing this exclusive series of four video reports over the past 24 hours. Stay tuned for more coverage.

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

“Oh my god, here we go again.”

In the early hours of April 10, the hospital staff was in even greater need of reinforcements than usual after seven children had been brought in at once with possible drug overdoses from suspected suicide attempts.

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

Sending counsellors to Attawapiskat won’t help

The tragic epidemic of suicide attempts in the remote Ontario community of Attawapiskat reminds us again of all that is wrong with aboriginal policy in this country. Especially the self-satisfied, fatuous response to it.

The crisis came to media and political attention when band leaders declared a state of emergency after 11 suicide attempts on Saturday, April 9, alone. But 101 people aged 11 to 71 have apparently tried to kill themselves since September, in a place with fewer than 2,000 residents and clearly far too little hope to go around. Obviously a dramatic solution is needed.

Instead two levels of government rushed in social workers. The feds sent about 18 well-meaning people, including a “crisis co-ordinator,” two youth support workers, a psychologist and two mental-health counsellors. Meanwhile, three of Attawapiskat’s four health-care workers have been sent to Thunder Bay for counselling of their own.

Then the Ontario ministers of health, and children and youth services, flew in, saying, “We have to roll our sleeves up and make this time different.” And $2 million in emergency funding was promised for more mental-health workers, a regional youth centre and some sort of long-term strategy. The chief proclaimed the response “awesome.” But it’s not. It’s awful.

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett to visit Attawapiskat amidst latest suicide attempts

The chief of a fly-in First Nation on the James Bay coast says he hopes a planned meeting with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett will be the beginning of real change for Attawapiskat.

Increasing suicide attempts by youth in the community on the James Bay coast prompted the northern Ontario First Nation to declare a state of emergency on April 9.

And, Chief Bruce Shisheesh said five more young people attempted to take their lives last Friday evening.

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

Visual Essay - Real life on the rez
by Louise Bernice Halfe
Photography by Larry Towell
October 15, 2014 • 2,243 words

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

Alberta signs historic agreement with Treaty 8 First Nations

By Otiena Ellwand
First posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 01:45 PM MDT Updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2016 02:51 PM MDT

Alberta signs historic agreement with Treaty 8 First Nations
(Left to right) Deputy Grand Chief Isaac Laboucan-Avirom, Premier Rachel Notley and Indigenous Relations Minister Richard Feehan exchange gifts after signing a protocol agreement between the Government of Alberta and Treaty 8 First Nations at the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton, Alta., on Tuesday April 26, 2016. Photo by Ian Kucerak

Premier Rachel Notley signed a protocol agreement with aboriginal leaders Tuesday, promising better collaboration and co-operation with First Nations in northern Alberta.

Deputy Grand Chief Isaac Laboucan-Avirom of Treaty 8 called it a "historic day," saying that “actions will speak louder than words.”

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

Ottawa mulls recouping $1.8-million in housing funds from Attawapiskat
KATHRYN BLAZE BAUM
The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Apr. 24, 2016 10:25PM EDT
Last updated Sunday, Apr. 24, 2016 10:28PM EDT

Ottawa is weighing whether to recoup more than $1.8-million from Attawapiskat First Nation for unsubstantiated housing spending uncovered in a 2014 audit of the reserve – a northern Ontario community today grappling with a suicide crisis that leaders say is linked, in part, to a housing shortage.

Attawapiskat’s 2014 financial statement noted the “potentially repayable” $1,842,260 in housing-related transactions for the fiscal years 2006 through 2011, but said the band did not agree with the audit findings and was in discussions with Ottawa “with the expectation the amount will be reduced in whole or in part.” The First Nation’s 2015 financial statement does not mention the status of the discussions, but Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada said the government has not recouped any of the money.

“The department considers many different factors when discussing potential recoveries from funding recipients, including potential hardship on the community,” spokesman Shawn Jackson said in an e-mail. “Further discussion and analysis with the community is needed on these matters.”

Attawapiskat CEO Wayne Turner would not comment on the matter, other than to say discussions are continuing. In its formal response to the audit recommendations, the First Nation said the majority of the $1.8-million was related to two major contracts, “each of which was completed and the full funds dispersed.”

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Money coming for First Nation punished in 1885 Rebellion

FSIN applauds efforts of Beardy's and Okemasis First Nations
CBC News Posted: Apr 06, 2016 12:46 PM CT| Last Updated: Apr 06, 2016 12:46 PM CT

A Saskatchewan First Nation is getting ready to be compensated for actions taken by the federal government more than 130 years ago.

Today, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations publicly stated its support for the Beardy's and Okemasis First Nation. The community wants to receive compensation for actions taken by the federal government after the 1885 Riel Rebellion.

Last May, the Specific Claims Tribunal ruled that the Crown erred in not paying treaty annuities.

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This Editorial was posted March 31st.

Editorial: Monitoring of billions pledged to aboriginals is lacking
Calgary Herald Editorial Board
Published on: March 31, 2016 | Last Updated: March 31, 2016 9:25 AM MDT

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has gone to great lengths to foster a warm relationship with aboriginals. He has promised to fulfil every recommendation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, including an inquiry into murdered and missing aboriginal women, which is expected to cost $40 million alone.

More recently, aboriginals were among the big winners in the government’s first budget. They’ve been promised an extra $8.4 billion over five years for infrastructure, education and training.

That’s all well and good, but extra injections of taxpayers’ money should be accompanied by oversight, so Canadians can be certain the funds are being properly spent. Sadly, taxpayers can have no such confidence, because the Liberals have stopped enforcing the First Nations Financial Transparency Act. The legislation was passed by the Conservatives and is credited with shining a light on how millions of taxpayers’ dollars are spent. Among the biggest supporters of the act, not surprisingly, are band members who often had no idea where money was going and how much many native politicians were paying themselves.

“We are hearing from band members all across Canada that they are concerned about the Liberal decision not to enforce the First Nations Transparency Act,” says Cathy McLeod, a B.C. Conservative MP who serves as her party’s aboriginal affairs critic.

Here is the response from Chief Gordon T. Auger

Chief: If you think aboriginals have it so good, come and visit us
Calgary Herald
Published on: April 27, 2016 | Last Updated: April 28, 2016 10:35 AM MDT

Re: “Monitoring is missing,” Editorial, March 31.

Your editorial paints all First Nations with the same brush. I can only speak for the Bigstone Cree Nation in northern Alberta, where I am the chief, but still, I do want to comment.

Why should I be held responsible for what others do or don’t do, any more than the mayor of Calgary would want to be held responsible for other cities?

As chief with a population of more than 8,000 members, I get paid $85,000 per year. As council, we are the municipal government, the education board and the health department board (including municipal, provincial and federal programs for our citizens). We are responsible for the roads and infrastructure (water, sewer, etc.), the social services and child-care programs, housing, elders and seniors — and I can go on and on.

My salary equates to, or is less than, the salary that the province and/or the federal government pays to a single program manager.

There are more than one million First Nations people, and you state you hear from many of them and their dissatisfaction with how their money is spent. Well, I read your newspaper on occasion and watch TV news, and I wonder if the number of First Nations that you hear from is more or less than the million Calgary residents who complain about what your government spends money on.

I think that you just do not understand what the objection to the Transparency Act was about for most of us. We have to report the financial accounts for not just the resources we receive from governments, but for our private businesses. No other private business has to.

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Martha Pearce-Smith's picture

Published on Oct 8, 2015

Canada has the world's second-largest supply of fresh water, but 169 First Nation communities have limited or no access to it. Nearly a quarter of the First Nations communities administered by Health Canada are currently without clean water. The alerts issued by the federal government range from "boil water advisories" going back more than 20 years to crippling "Do Not Consume" orders. VICE goes to Shoal Lake 40, a reserve only a few hours from Winnipeg that sits on a manmade island. The lake the reserve sits on supplies Winnipeg's drinking water, but Shoal Lake 40 has been under a boil water advisory for 17 years. In part two, we go to Neskantaga, a remote fly-in where the federal government opts to deliver rations of bottled water to rather than repair the treatment plant that would provide jobs and consistent water. VICE Canada meets with the chiefs, the political negotiators and the young residents who have spent their whole lives without accessible clean water.

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2016-04-20 / Voices of the People
How do we heal trauma suffered by Native communities?
BY GABOR MATE’

It is not enough that the Attawapiskat First Nation has declared a state of emergency over the epidemic of suicides and suicide attempts among its youth. Our entire country should declare a state of emergency about the appalling health status, physical and mental, of First Nations and Inuit communities. Would we not have already if, instead of Nunavut or Attawapiskat, it was, say, the teens of Westmount, Forest Hill or Kitsilano who were killing themselves at 10 times the national rate?

I am often asked to visit First Nations communities across Canada to speak about addiction, stress-related illness and child development. The ordinary Canadian citizen simply has no idea, cannot even begin to imagine, what misfortunes, tragedies and other kinds of adversity many native young people experience by the time they reach adolescence – how many deaths of loved ones they witness, what abuse they endure, what despair they feel, what self-loathing plagues them, what barriers to a life of freedom and meaning they face.

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