We see with the situation in Attawapiskat a growing awareness within Canada

AFN National Chief Shawn AtleoATTAWAPISKAT – “We see with the situation in Attawapiskat a growing awareness within Canada and internationally of the urgent needs in our own backyard, and the importance of working with First Nations to develop long-term solutions to a system that is broken,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. Following a community visit to Attawapiskat First Nation yesterday, the National Chief referenced the importance of the growing awareness of the realities of First Nation communities and the need for engagement of all Canadians moving forward.

The Nation Chief was in Attawapiskat First Nation yesterday with Mohawk Council of Akwesasne Grand Chief Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell, AFN Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse, Olympian and IndigenACTION Ambassador Waneek Horn-Miller, and Don Morrison of the Debbie and Don Morrison Family Foundation.

First Nations across the country are seeking and receiving increased support from Canadians from all walks of life. This week a shipment of clothing and other supplies will be delivered to Pikangikum First Nation as a gesture of support from concerned Canadian citizens. Other major partnerships with AFN and the Holmes Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and an outpouring of interest from foundations, business, and the education sector shows that there is public support to achieve better education, housing and health outcomes for First Nation citizens.

“At a time of year when we’re all reminded of the importance of family, community and togetherness, I am encouraged by the strength and resilience of our peoples, but most importantly by the important moment upon which we have arrived”, said National Chief Atleo. “It is a monumental shift in thinking when we have sixth-graders in a city like Ottawa, reaching out to their peers almost 1000 kilometers away. We must take this thinking, and the kind donations by many Canadians through the Red Cross and other initiatives to other First Nation communities, the many other partnerships with First Nations and continue to quicken the rate and pace of change for our peoples and all of Canada to realize the true potential of this country.”

“Real reconciliation and real change will not come without action. First Nations have built a strong foundation, we’ve done the work and we’re ready to move forward to achieve real change for our peoples and communities,” said National Chief Atleo. “We look forward to 2012 and to a meeting between the Crown and First Nations with a specific focus on resetting the relationship and mutually designed approaches and plans. Healthy, stable and secure communities are thriving communities. Through respect and meaningful engagement, we take action to move forward on reconciliation and a better tomorrow for all.”