Continuing their fight for a proper school, the children of the Ontario Cree community of Attawapiskat are attempting to raise funds to go to Toronto for a first-ever children’s conference to be held on November 26.
Timmins-James Bay NDP MP Charlie Angus stated, “The Attawapiskat School campaign has become the largest youth-driven child-rights movement in Canadian history. Over the last year we have had hundreds of schools take up the campaign and start up the campaign on their own without any prompting.”
Attawapiskat’s school has been housed in dilapidated trailers since the actual school building was closed down in 2000 due to diesel contamination.
Though Indian and Northern Affairs has made many promises to build a new school, it has yet to happen. Under the reign of current INAC Minister Chuch Strahl, funding has become mysteriously unavailable to rebuild the much-needed school.
“What we decided to do with the Attawapiskat school campaign was to bring some of these youth activists together in what will be a very much unprecedented form to have Native and non-Native students come together to talk about the inequities in education,” said Angus.
The Toronto children’s conference will bring together hundreds of school children from across Ontario along with several Ontario-based teacher associations for the purposes of brainstorming and raising awareness about the educational apartheid First Nations Children are facing.
The students of Attawapiskat will also be participating in the United Nation’s review of Canada’s international obligations under the rights of the child as they have already filed a complaint against Canada in the form of a lengthy letter describing their plight.
A youth team from the Mushkegowuk tribal council and the youth of Attawapiskat are currently trying to raise funds to get to Toronto for the children’s conference. To contribute, contact John B. Nakogee at the Attawapiskat Education Authority at 705-997-2232.