Chief Theresa Spence Re-Elected
ATTAWAPISKAT – Chief Theresa Spence has been re-elected in Attawapiskat. The final vote tally is expected to be made public later this week. Chief Spence has been Chief in the remote Northern Ontario community which has faced a housing shortage, and a long and finally successful fight for a new school.
Last year and into early 2013, Chief Spence went on a hunger strike seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Harper. The Chief became a focal point for the Idle No More movement in its earliest days. Since ending her protest, Chief Spence has been heard less in the national media, however the issues facing Attawapiskat have continued.
The Chief has faced critical commentary in the national media, over her leadership. It now appears that Chief Spence has the support she needs from the people of Attawapiskat to continue.
Attawapiskat faces a housing shortage, and despite the funds coming in from the federal government and from mining giant De Beers, many of the people still share crowded housing.
The election was not without controversy. Voting was restricted to band members living on the reserve. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada states that Attawapiskat First Nation has a total registered population of 3,472. Of that, 1,489 people — nearly half— live off-reserve.
Chief Spence has been the subject of her critics before. However with the re-election for her second term, the Chief now has the opportunity to continue to work to solve the problems her community faces.