Statement by Sylvia Koostachin-Metatawabin and Theresa Spence
ATTAWAPISKAT – As of midnight on July 14, 2019, Theresa Spence and I have started our hunger strike. We will no longer sit by and watch government groups and officials come in and visit our community only to offer a piecemeal approach to the long-standing and ongoing crisis within our community. We are asking from the highest level of both governments to deal with all of our community’s needs and/or emergency situations on hand, and further, to work on a true and balanced Treaty relationship with our Nation. No more dealing with Indigenous Services Canada technical groups and their bureaucratic processes. We are calling on Senior Management officials who hold budgetary and decision making authorities to sit at the working table. The Attawapiskat First Nation file must be seen and listed as a major capital investment that encompasses not only with our water crisis but also focusing on infrastructure and housing.
However, these immediate needs only focus on infrastructure. Other high-level items require us to have a concerted dialogue on Child Welfare, Health priorities and Mental Health related issues, Education and the looming genocidal encroachment of our traditional lands on Resource Development activities.
We have a role here in our society, and as women, it is our duty to protect not only our children and our families, but to protect and ensure the well being of our entire community in a health and transparent manner. Water is life – water is sacred – and we carry the water!
No more shall we listen to your recommendations about our situation. We know our community and what needs to be repaired or replaced. It is our request to work on a Nation to Nation level to list the immediate, short term and long term needs of the community.
Thank you all for your support and prayers – and thank you for honouring Attawapiskat First Nation
We are Sylvia and Theresa, and we continue to build on our Nationhood.