On October 24 2011, the Chief of the First Nations community of Attawapiskat, Ontario declared a state of emergency. This community contains roughly 2,000 Cree natives. A visit by the local MP, the local MPP and Dr. John Waddell revealed appalling conditions inside of the reserve reminiscent of a third-world country. There is no running water, no sewage system, and no insulated houses. The local elementary school only provides 50% of the spaces recommended by Federal standards. There are not nearly enough housing spaces, and so many people are forced to live in cramped living conditions, or inside tents. In one circumstance, six people (including children) were forced to live in a small trailer no larger than a bedroom. Dr. Waddell warned that continued use of these grounds could cause the residents to develop bronchitas, respiratory problems, serious infections and mental illnesses. There is also a severe fire risk.
Knowing that this is happening in a province like Ontario, these conditions are utterly unacceptable. If they are not changed by winter, the residents will likely die from the cold. A fund of 500,000$ was sent to the community by the Minister of Aboriginal and Northern Affairs for rennovations to existing structures. However, this will not even begin to cover the costs of the basic necessities of life required by the Cree Natives living there, or relieve the residents of their emergency housing situation.
We hereby petition the government to immediately take action on the conditions in Attawapiskat by providing the promised 2.5 million dollars in relief funds, providing adequate and insulated housing, beginning work on necessary infrastructure, building a second elementary school and ensuring that the Aboriginal Community of Attawapiskat has the necessities of life.