Attawapiskat School Talks Back On With Government
The Chief and Council of Attawapiskat are announcing that the federal government has agreed to come back to the table for negotiations over a new school for the community. The federal government broke off talks for a proposed grade school in December. However, this morning in Ottawa, senior representatives of Minister Chuck Strahl met with community leaders to discuss steps for getting the school plan on track.Chief Theresa Hall says that she is cautious but pleased that the government has agreed to work with the community on plans for a new school.
“We made it very clear to Indian Affairs that this school must be built and it will be built. We are pleased that the government has recognized the importance of this project. However, until we see the shovels going in the ground, we will continue to push forward. The government has promised us that there will be ‘no more surprises.’ After 8 long years, we want the government to take up their fiduciary responsibility to work with us as partners and not adversaries.”
The fight for a new school has drawn national attention. Students and schools from across the country have participated in an unprecedented letter-writing campaign, started by Charlie Angus, to push Minister Chuck Strahl to honour the agreement to build a school.
Chief Theresa Hall says that until the school is built, the public campaign will continue.
“On behalf of our community, I want to thank the students of J.R. Nakogee School Attawapiskat and all the students, teachers and citizens across Canada who have shown such dedication in helping our cause. I want them to know that these efforts must continue until the children of Attawapiskat have the same access to proper schools like every other child in Canada.”
Senior staff from Indian Affairs have committed to a working group to examine means of getting the school in Attawapiskat built. The working group will include members of the Band Council, the Attawapiskat Education Authority and Indian Affairs officials.