Federal Government Must Act in Wake of Attawapiskat Crisis

December 5, 2011, 2:40 PM EST

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Delegates to CAW Council called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to take immediate action to work with First Nations communities to solve problems such as inadequate housing, poor educational opportunities, a lack of health care and poverty.

In signed letters to Harper more 400 delegates expressed dismay over the deplorable conditions in the First Nations community of Attawapiskat in northern Ontario and stressed that all Canadians are rightfully shocked.

"Whole families living in tents without access to heat or plumbing; children attending decrepit schools if they are able to attend school at all; even the absence of proper sewage treatment - no citizen of this country should ever have to live in such wretched conditions."

"The crisis in Attawapiskat has shone national and even international attention on the gross disparity between some First Nations communities and other parts of the country."

Leadership from the federal government could dramatically improve the circumstances of First Nations people, particularly First Nations youth, who are much less likely to graduate from high school, because of barriers to basic education, health, housing and nutrition.

"Real solutions can be found to these problems. It is incumbent upon your government to act now, not only to prevent further crises and devastation, but to give hope to a generation of First Nations youth whose experience has given them little reason for optimism."

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