“It’s been three weeks since Attawapiskat First Nation took the extraordinary step of declaring a state of emergency.
Since then, not a single federal or provincial official has even bothered to visit the community.”
In the late fall of 2011 the remote First Nations community of Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency. In Northern Ontario, with winter approaching temperatures even in late October drop below 30 degrees celsius. The housing conditions in Attawapiskat were of an exceptionally deep state of neglect. People, Canadian Citizens were living in tents, sheds and shacks, some without plumbing, so no sinks or even working toilets, tarps as roofs and without heat.
I was sent to tour the grounds and speak to residents of Attawapiskat with Interim NDP Leader Nycole Turmell and MP Charlie Angus.
“Fresh off a trip to the impoverished First Nation community of Attawapiskat, NDP interim leader Nycole Turmel
called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to visit it himself — and stop dwelling on money.
Tobi Cohen, National Post
The federal governments’ response.
“The federal government placed the Attawapiskat reserve in northern Ontario under third-party management on Wednesday
after it declared a state of emergency last month due to abhorrent living conditions.”
Amy Chung, National Post
The Harper Conservatives and their kindred pundits alike decided to place blame directly on the leadership and community of Attawapiskat. They leaned on First Nations stereotypes in media talking points and in the House of Commons during Question Period. They perpetuated a traditional ‘blame the indian’ story and fed misinformation to attempt to stir anger about Aboriginal people. Painting these communities as inept fiscal stewards and socially dependant. Then they parachute in their third party manager with what was supposed to be a white hat to save the day as all hero cowboys do.