Over $3 billion in revenue sharing from Ontario’s lotteries and casinos will be directed to Native communities throughout the province, over the next 25 years.
The newly inked agreement will see the money earmarked for community health care, education and infrastructure.
In total, 134 Aboriginal communities will get $201 million immediately, and 1.7 percent of Ontario’s gaming revenues, beginning in 2011.
Although the money is welcome, leaders in the region say it won’t cover essential needs in their communities.
A badly needed elementary school in Attawapiskat, for example, is budgeted at $30 million. The community had drawn up the plan for a new school but the federal government backed out of financing it last December.
Under the new lotto agreement Attawapiskat’s Deputy Chief Theresa Linklater expects the First Nation to receive $2.8 million. The money will go towards education, health, social and cultural development, and economic and community
development, says Linklater, but cannot fund building a new school.
A working team from the community will continue to lobby the federal government’s Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs for the new school, Linklater told the Nation.
Currently, elementary school students are attending classes in portable cubicles, which have shifted on their foundations, stopping doors and windows from closing properly.
Their former school was closed over eight years ago due to contamination from a federal pipeline leaking over 30,000 gallons of diesel fuel directly underneath the school.
The lotto deal ends three years of negotiations for Ontario chiefs, who have also agreed to drop an ongoing lawsuit over taxation and revenue sharing from Casino Rama, near Orillia, Ontario.