Kashechewan to stay with NAPS, negotiations positive


    THUNDER BAY, ON, April 17 /CNW/ - Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief
Stan Beardy together with Kashechewan First Nation Chief Jonathan Solomon
announced today the James Bay coastal community will remain policed by
Nishnawbe Aski Police Service (NAPS) while negotiations between the police
service and the governments of Ontario and Canada are proceeding positively.
    "Provided both levels of government are coming to the table in good
faith, it seems Nishnawbe Aski Police Service could have a negotiated
agreement that will enhance policing not only in my community, but in other
NAN communities," said Kashechewan First Nation Chief Jonathan Solomon, adding
his main priority is addressing and resolving the shortfalls in policing to
ensure proper health and safety for his community. "Both Ontario and Canada
are aware of the challenges and exactly where the Nishnawbe Aski Police
Service is under-resourced and that an agreement must address all areas of
deficiency."
    Solomon announced a 30-day deadline in February demanding both the
Government of Ontario and Government of Canada address the growing policing
crisis in his remote community of approximately 1500 people. He extended this
deadline in March based on a commitment by both governments to negotiate
together with NAPS a long-term strategy addressing the ongoing and cumulative
infrastructure challenges experienced by the police service.
    NAPS, which is funded 48% by the Government of Ontario and 52% by the
Government of Canada, serves 39 of NAN's 49 communities. Despite negotiations
to address infrastructure needs with provincial and federal representatives
since 1994, only one NAPS detachment meets national building code standards.
    The police service was forced to close two detachments in February after
reporting failure to meet basic needs such as proper lighting, washroom
facilities, monitoring capabilities, and cell construction. In addition, the
NAPS detachment in Wunnumin Lake First Nation was closed March 20th for the
same reasons, particularly the lack of washroom facilities and use of slop
pails as displayed in the short documentary film NAPS: A Sacred Calling
(2008).
    "Negotiations between NAPS and both levels of government are looking
positive at this point and there's been a serious effort on the part of
federal and provincial negotiators to resolve the ongoing infrastructure
challenges of the police service, however this is not a one-community issue,"
said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. "We have police detachments across NAN
territory failing to meet basic standards and it's up to NAPS, Ontario, and
Canada to work together to develop long-term and viable solutions to put the
police service in a position to operate up to basic standards."

    Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization
representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty 9 and Ontario
portions of Treaty 5 - an area covering two-thirds of the province of Ontario.
Kashechewan is one of NAN's communities and is part of Mushkegowuk Tribal
Council.




For further information: Michael Heintzman, Media Relations Officer,
Nishnawbe Aski Nation, (807) 625-4906; Visit www.nan.on.ca to view short film
documentary NAPS: A Sacred Calling