Thursday, August 20, 2009

"Bring on your Mohawk brothers!"

That was a lippy pencil-neck from Indian and Northern Affairs, squaring off in a meeting with a delegation from Attawapiskat, a remote northern Ontario reserve where living conditions have been going downhill for years. The members of the delegation had come to ask for help.

Life is not easy in Attawapiskat. The kids there have been fighting for a new school for years--the old one was built over a contaminated site. But under the "leadership" of Minister Chuck Strahl, who wears his contempt for First Nations people on his sleeve, nothing has moved.

More recently, 90 residents, whose homes have been flooded with sewage, had to be evacuated to Chapleau on the band's own nickel because INAC won't admit that there is a problem--even though Health Canada disagrees.

Today in a press conference in Ottawa, Chief Theresa Hall described the meeting yesterday with INAC officials in Toronto, during which they put their case for badly-needed assistance:

We were putting down our short term and long term goals, of all the issues that face Attawapiskat, but when I asked for the financial assistance for the evacuees they flatly said no. And then we decided there was no use sitting there trying to go on with the meeting. And someone made reference to someone, I believe it was Greg (Shisheesh) because he has family that’s Mohawk… he has Mohawk children. He then made reference to that family, that that family can’t visit him in Attawapiskat because he doesn’t have a home. And that’s when one of the INAC officials said "Well, bring on your Mohawk brothers." [emphasis added]

Asked to repeat, the official did so.The reference to Oka and Akwesasne was clear. Given Strahl's pathetic performance as Minister, it is no wonder that his own officials now feel emboldened to abandon all pretence of professionalism, and openly mock the people that INAC is supposed to be assisting.

Know what? Maybe the Mohawks
should travel north--and stop in at Strahl's office on the way. Free coffee and fry-bread at my place. You listening, Shawn Brant?

[H/t Cameron]

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