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The People's Inquiry on Suicide
Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat First Nation opposes Bill C-45
Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is in her fourth week of a hunger strike to support her plea for 'dialogue' and for an end to the pain that lives in so many First Nation communities across Canada.
On Saturday, January 5, 2013, MCCO Executive Director Rick Cober Bauman and MCCO Aboriginal Neighbours Program Coordinator, Lyndsay Mollins Koene made the trip to Victoria Island to honour the decades long relationship MCC Ontario has with this community.
To read his poignant reflections of the visit, please click here.
And MCC Ontario expresses gratitude in this letter written to Chief Spence after the visit on Saturday, click here for entire letter.
How does Bill C-45 impact First Nations?
Read this summary of the many Acts that are affected by Bill C-45.
Click here to read the full open letter to the Queen, written by the First Nation Chiefs of Ontario.
Raise your voice in support of Canada's First Nations Opposing Bill-C45
Below is an interview with the CBC's Chris Rands. Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence talks to Rands about her hunger strike and why she wants to meet with the Prime Minister.
Please click here to watch this interview and support Chief Theresa Spence her opposition to Bill C-45.
Stand with Chief Spence, and the human rights she is working to have recognized by all levels of Government.
United Nations raises concern on hunger among Indigenous communities
"… the situation of Aboriginal peoples in Canada raises specific concerns" says the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter while visiting Canada on May 16, 2012.
Not long ago, while in Kashachewan First Nations, an isolated First Nation along the James Bay Coast, I was working with a woman who wanted to try a new recipe, but noted that her family was very diabetic. I offered up a recipe of my own, chicken legs, tomatoes, and rice. Together we shopped for the ingredients at the only store in the community, and for her family of six, spent close to $70 on this meal.
A recent visit from De Schutter called for changes to the way First Nations access food. The first of these would be a reform of the Nutrition North Canada program that subsidizes retailers to serve remote communities. He then called for a structural approach to tackling the socio-economic and cultural barriers to opportunities for those living on reserves that result in their not enjoying fully their right to adequate food. Finally, De Schutter notes that neither the federal Government nor the provinces consider that they have a responsibility to support off-reserve Aboriginal peoples in overcoming the structural discrimination they face; often leading to poverty.
The First Nations Regional Longitudinal Health Survey (RHS 2008/10) indicates that 17.8% of First Nation adults aged 25-39 and 16.1% of First Nation adults aged 40-54 reported being hungry but did not eat due to lack of money for food. Comparably, only 7.7% of Canadian households were considered food insecure during 2007-2008.
De Schutter concluded his United Nations visit by sharing the following insights: “What I’ve seen in Canada is a system that presents barriers and for the poor to access nutritious diets and that tolerates increased inequalities between rich and poor, and Aboriginal non-Aboriginal peoples.”
The Mennonite Central Committee in Ontario, continue to work in partnership with First communities in the Far North, with the goal being Sustainable, and nutritious options. Whether it is connecting local farmers in Timmins, ON to Health Services in Attawapiskat, or connecting St. Jacobs Mennonite Church to the King Fisher Lakes community garden, both are working, through community leadership, to access sustainable food.
For more info contact:
Lyndsay Mollins Koene
Aboriginal Neighbour Coordinator
Standing with First Peoples - engaging ourselves, and taking the time to understand the connections between the history, culture and the land belonging to Indigenous people.