Scouring the Internet for news stories this morning netted no mention of a previous government grant to the Attawapiskat community. In yesterday’s radio news report about new assistance, the story repeatedly made reference to a previous $80 million allotment that had been given to the aboriginal band. I can find no mention of this in any other news reports.
What I did find was an excellent article on the Huffington Post site which provides a very complete and thorough explanation of the situation and how it came about. It’s worth a read and is pretty concise, so there’s not much point in my regurgetating it here.
One point worth thinking about is that Attawapiskat is probably not in a unique situation. It is probably just one of many communities in a similar situation. We hear many horror stories about Aboriginal communities up the coast of Quebec and Labrador. How many other communities are hidden by the Boreal forests of Northern Ontario? We have to make sure that the troubles in this one community are not conveniently solved and then the larger issue is forgotten. The policies and decisions that we’ve perpetrated on these people throughout their history lies at the root of their problems. We cannot shirk our responsibility.