To the Editor:
The disaster that is unfolding at the Attawapiskat settlement is the end result of what could best be described as criminal negligence not only by our politicians, but also our so-called justice system.
The reason for considering land and resources as ‘settlements’ for the natives was simply to help them to transition into other endeavors that would provide them with the income they would need to be able to continue to support themselves and their families, just like you and I.
Instead our politicians and our courts have forced them into conceding their traditional nomadic lifestyle in exchange for a lifetime of welfare, and the results have been disastrous:
Taxpayers are pumping literally billions of dollars into programs that will only guarantee the continued high level of poverty, with no end in sight.
The natives are being denied what they need more than anything, an education that will help them enter the labour force.
Living on reserves is like living in a commune where the tribal ‘family’ owns the land, and individuals are denied the opportunity to have title to property, and cannot borrow money to build a home and start a business.
It’s time to tell Atleo and the other chiefs that the game is up – that all of their claims to land and resources are bogus.
Those lands and resources have already been paid for by millions of Canadians who get up early in the morning and go to work to provide the means to support themselves and their families.
It’s time to insist that natives become an integral part of the Canadian economic and social fabric and be allowed to go to work and pay taxes like the rest of us.
The politicians also have to rein in the courts and insist it is not justifiable, let alone sustainable, to continue to award natives the very land and resources industries need to provide those jobs.
Andy Thomsen, Summerland