Attawapiskat Nightmare 3
Continued from here
This piece showed up in the Guardian yesterday, co-authored by a colleague of mine:
Canada's First Nations: a scandal where the victims are blamed
The federal government's response to the crisis has been a combination of arrogance and bullying. The prime minister, Stephen Harper, stood up in parliament to argue that widespread corruption on the part of band leaders was to blame, stating: "This government has spent some $90m since coming to office just on Attawapiskat. That's over $50,000 for every man, woman and child in the community. Obviously we're not very happy that the results do not seem to have been achieved for that."
As the author of the apihtawikosisan blog points out, this figure not only conflates the amounts allocated for education, maintenance, healthcare and social services but ignores the cost difficulties brought about by Attawapiskat's remote location and the fact it is over a number of years. Full government-sponsored audits since 2005 are available on theofficial Attawapiskat website.
Then Harper placed Attawapiskat in third-party management. Last Monday, when the controller arrived, he was promptly asked to leave by the community – and did. Now, the aboriginal affairs minister, John Duncan, has given Attawapiskat two choices: either hand over control of their affairs directly to the federal government (at a cost of $180,000 to the community), or evacuate the needy families. As chief Theresa Spence states in a press release: "It is incredible that the Harper government's decision is that instead of offering aid and assistance to Canada's First Peoples, their solution is to blame the victim, and that the community is guilty, and deserving of their fate."
Between Durban COP17 and this, what a disgraced nation Canada is nowadays on the world stage.
More Victims Tell of Sexual Abuse on Reserves
"A day after two women spoke out on suffering sexual abuse on a troubled northern Ontario reserve, more victims are coming forward to say the problem is prevalent across the country..."
"Chief Ed Metawabun, electric shocked at age six 'to entertain visiting dignitaries at the St. Anne's Catholic Residential School..."
An excellent read:
The people of the Attawapiskat First Nation tried to negotiate fair compensation with DeBeers for years. The process divided the community between those who wanted to protect their ancestral land in its natural state, and those who hoped to benefit from exploiting their resources either by getting good jobs at the mine or by starting businesses to service the mine.
In the end, DeBeers was the big winner. The people of Attawapiskat lost at least as much as they gained in the Impact Benefit Agreement (IBA) they signed with DeBeers, in 2005.
The diamonds mined on Attawapiskat land, since 2008, may not be “blood diamonds”, but there is no such thing as “clean diamonds”. Diamond mining may be marginally cleaner than some types of mining, but every mine affects the environment.
In addition to environmental concerns, the social and economic impact on the people of Attawapiskat has not proven positive. Only a fraction of the promised jobs ever materialised and the mining company does little business with the community of Attawapiskat.
Gaining a diamond mine in their backyard certainly didn’t help many of the people of Attawapiskat; most are worse off today....
Is there a 'boycott DeBeers' movement yet?
(not that I would ever be in the market for a diamond)
Yes there is. Join us.
We also boycott Lamborghinis, Predator drones, and Beluga caviar. It's a very pro-environment, anti-war, pro-biodiversity, and pro-native rights movement.
Sounds good to me. I've been boycotting Ferraris and Porsches for decades.
A boycott of Canadian diamonds isn't where to strike. The idea would be to sully the brand by bringing attention to what is going on.
But not so fast: You don't want to sully the brand so much that, down the road, the native populations can't realize benefits from the diamonds.
The best approach, in my mind, is to have a quiet campaign to threaten such an act. Not that I'd take following through off the table, but I think caution is needed here.
Anyway, I found this map yesterday. A lot of these stories and issues arise and no one gives much of a sense of place or physical position. This map doesn't have place names but I am sure we all know where Attawapiskat is on the map by now.
If that comes up blank, go to the home page and click on Ontario.
Does the community of Attawapiskat even want the diamond mine on their land? Or was it pushed onto them? Anyone know?
That's a good question, Boom Boom, and I will try to find an answer to that. In the mean time, I came across this article today.
In the mining article I linked to (#15), it suggests that the community was divided during the negotiations but I imagine a vote took place on the De Beers Impact Benefit Agreement. The link takes you to a PDF file of the Agreement that probably mentions whether it was ratified by vote.
it also appears the government/IA is holding the first nation hostage by forcing them to agree to third party mgmt in order to get ANY help in the form of repairs, trailers and other short term measures...
i'm happy though that some people are beginning to compare the percapita expenditures that everyone is freaking out about on reserve to the much higher per capita spending in major cities. Still like to see some comparison of similar sized rural town etc in canada...
I sent your email as requested in my name, and emailed it to eveyone else that I know asking they do the same and send it to their friends asking they do similarly.
Stephen's quote ""We also have no history of colonialism. So we have all of the things that many people admire about the great powers but none of the things that threaten or bother them."
this is make me very angry! He have no right and not education in Native american history.....