Attawapiskat

CP

Social Issues Facing Indigenous Communities Can't Wait

Now is the time. The political and legal ducks are aligned. There is a friendly government. But we need your solutions. As a government we are not going to impose solutions. With your leadership we can and will make enormous progress for all of us. There is no need to refight battles that have already been won. Limited resources, time and energy have to be expended on building - not fighting. On creating - not destroying.
CP

Attawapiskat's Suicides Need More Than Superficial Solutions

Dealing with the current crisis isn't enough, because this crisis is unending. As the Attawapiskat teen who confronted Bennett pointed out, our First Nations are living in third-world conditions, and that needs to be dealt with first. We need to build livable houses with access to drinkable water. We need to hire permanent local mental health care workers and addiction specialists. We need to get adults jobs, be it developing local resources, producing and selling traditional goods or telecommuting to office jobs. As Bill Yoachim of the Snuneymuxw First Nation on Vancouver Island told CBC when asked about the suicide crisis: "We need to create space, whether through sport or culture or recreation, to make people feel alive."
Spencer Wynn via Getty Images

The Youth Of Attawapiskat Have Solutions To Fighting Suicide Crisis

The biggest complaint I hear from teenagers is that we don't take them seriously. The teens of Attawapiskat have made a list of what they have in their community, their community and social assets if you will. Things like a gym, a Healing Lodge, and a school. They have also made another list: 'What we need.' Notice the list was not titled what we want. Need. These children need a Fitness Centre; it was the first thing on their list. The second was a Track and Field facility. More Sports, a Youth Camp and a clean Swimming Pool. We need to listen now, and give them what they need before it's too late.
CP — The Attawapiskat First Nation declared an emergency in October, 2011, because 25 families were living in housing too flimsy to face the harsh winter. The story made national headlines after a HuffPost Canada blog about the crisis by NDP MP Charlie Angus, whose rising includes Attawapiskat, went viral. In response, the Red Cross raised $300,000 from Canadian donors and flew in emergency supplies for families in the most precarious conditions. Federal and provincial emergency officials are refitting a local healing centre as a temporary shelter for the winter. And the federal government has purchased 22 new modular houses, with the hope that they'll be in place later this winter. At the same time, however, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has accused the band of mismanaging federal money and not producing adequate results for the $90 million transferred to the community over five years. He has ordered a full audit and placed administration of the band's finances in the hands of a third-party manager — a decision that angered band leaders and sparked a legal fight. - With a file from The Huffington Post