POLITICS

Attawapiskat not optimistic about Harper meeting

01/23/2012 01:57 EST | Updated 03/24/2012 05:12 EDT

When Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with chiefs from across Canada at a gathering in Ottawa, one of the items on the agenda is the chronic housing shortage on reserves. The issue grabbed national headlines, after Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency almost three months ago.

In that community, band member Greg Shisheesh questions what's really changed over the last few months for the families living in wood frame tents and shacks.

"I know one of the elders that lives inside a tent,” Shisheesh said. “He's used to it, because he lived in the bush before. But he still wants his grandchildren to live better than him, because times have changed."

A total of 22 modular homes are expected to be shipped to the community on the ice road in mid-February.

There's no word on how long it will take to install them, so families can move in.

Lack of information

Meanwhile, the first nation is legally challenging the federal government's decision to put a third party manager in control of the first nation's finances.

There's no word on the application for an injunction either.

Shisheesh said he and others in the community are frustrated with the lack of information about the situation.

As for the upcoming meeting between the Prime Minister and the Assembly of First Nations — he isn't holding his breath.

"I think it's just going to be trying to clear the air so international communities will not think bad of Canada,” Shisheesh said.

Stephen Harper has said tomorrow's gathering is only the beginning of a long process in improving conditions on reserves.