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Primate and National Indigenous Bishop Respond to Attawapiskat Emergency

December 6, 2011

By Simon Chambers

Canadians have responded in shock and outrage at the situation facing the residents of Attawapiskat, Ontario.  Hundreds of residents do not have adequate housing””many are living in tents””as winter fast approaches.  The elementary school was shut down years ago and, despite the pleas of the community and its children, no new school has been built.  The list of problems goes on.

Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, and Bishop Mark MacDonald, National Indigenous Bishop, have written a letter on behalf of Anglicans to the Hon. John Duncan, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development.  In this letter, they call on the government to address both the current emergency in Attawapiskat, but also the state of many Indigenous communities across Canada and the inherent injustice in the treatment of Indigenous people.

“The larger crisis this situation represents””adequate resources and basic justice for Indigenous Peoples””requires leadership and attention.  It does not appear to yield to partisan solutions.  Like your government’s cooperative work in the Apology to Indigenous Peoples of this land, the needs of Indigenous communities must be addressed by leadership that will foster courage, compassion, and community in all of our peoples.  We are hopeful that your government will provide leadership, working with other parties, and other levels of government, native communities, faith group, and other stake-holders.  We must find a way to an equitable and just solution to the challenges facing Indigenous Peoples across Canada.”

Anglicans seeking to add their own voice to those calling for a quick response to this emergency and for justice to prevail in Canada’s relationship with Indigenous people are encouraged to visit the KAIROS Canada website and participate in their advocacy campaign.

UPDATE: You can download the full letter sent by the Primate and Bishop MacDonald [documents_link docid=”57″ docname=”here” link_only=”yes”].