Canada's shame (external - login to view)
Death of five-year-old at Hobbema must not be in vain
Calgary Herald July 13, 2011
Then, in 2008, Hobbema was stunned by the non-fatal shooting of a 23-month-old toddler, Asia Saddleback, who was hit by a bullet in the abdomen while she sat at her grandfather's kitchen table eating soup. The incident motivated Jonathan Blaine-Nepoose, a father of three, to forsake his membership in the gang Redd Alert and urge others to do the same. At the same meeting, an expert said Hobbema had the highest concentration of gang members per capita in the country.
The quiet in Hobbema held until last Christmas Eve, when Preston Thom, 15, was shot dead on the street as he and his little brother stood outside their home. Now, the killing of the five-year-old grandson of reserve Chief Marvin Yellowbird by a stray bullet on Monday while he slept has again focused attention on Hobbema.
Tuesday, Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo offered his condolences and reiterated the urgency of his plan to scrap the Indian Act and the federal department of Aboriginal Affairs and replace them with a new First Nations-Crown agreement. He called on all First Nations to work together to build healthier, stronger and safer communities, conceding the task will not be easy.
Clearly, things must change. Dysfunction and poverty on First Nations reserves have been Canada's greatest failures. The federal auditor general's report in June noted that "conditions on too many reserves are poor and have not improved significantly." The report noted that over the past decade, key indicators of wellness such as housing, education and water quality have actually gotten worse.
The federal government and the Assembly of First Nations say they are making progress on governance, education and economic development. The Harper government is firm that the era of issuing blank cheques without clear accountability will end. Forward-thinking First Nations leaders agree that fundamental changes must come about.
Regardless of what may evolve for the operations of reserves, the auditor general's report says it cannot be dictated by Ottawa, but must be led by First Nations.
Perhaps the death of a little boy sleeping innocently in his bed may finally help bring an end to Canada's shame
This thread below states the Samson band has control of $350 million of revenue. They are rich. Can't blame Ottawa, Canadians, bad water, or poverty here. Funny, in their traditional lifestyle and original treaty with the crown, I bet no one had no idea or discussion regarding hydrocarbons in the 18th or 19th century, did anyone check? Treaties are a joke. Treaties give poor, uneducated country people much more power than they deserve or can handle. Pardon me while I yawn with the rest of Canadians.
Hobbema-area bands lose Supreme Court case