TORONTO, Aug. 2, 2012 /CNW/ - The recent federal court decision declaring the appointment of a third-party manager during the Attawapiskat housing crisis unreasonable reiterates First Nations' concerns. It also confirms that the government of Canada's statements about the causes of the crisis were misleading.
"The Chiefs of Ontario condemns any action taken by the federal government that is a direct attack on our inherent right to self-determination as original Nations, which includes imposed appointments of third-party managers. This was a paternalistic and unreasonable response to the clear needs of the people of Attawapiskat resulting from systematic underfunding," said Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy.
The federal court found that there was no financial management concern in Attawapiskat but rather a lack of resources. The figures tabulated by Attawapiskat clearly show that the funding they receive is well below the poverty line in Ontario. Funding allotted for housing and minor capital is only a mere 6.5 per cent ($6M over 6 years) of the $94M received over the 6 year period.
The provincial and federal governments have gained significant wealth from First Nations lands and resources, lands which were never surrendered. The spirit and intent of the Treaties made by our original Nations and the Crown agreed to the sharing of resources and recognized our self-determination, which is also affirmed in Article 3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
"The living conditions faced by some of our Peoples as a result of the ongoing violation of our inherent rights and Treaties is intolerable. We recognize and appreciate the concerns relayed to Canada during the crisis, particularly by the UN Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Peoples on the dire social and economic conditions in Attawapiskat," said Regional Chief Beardy.
The Chiefs of Ontario (COO) is the coordinating body for the 133 First Nations located within the boundaries of the Province of Ontario.
SOURCE: Chiefs of Ontario
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Andre Morriseau, Media Relations
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