What the hell is an Attawapiskat?

I know that no matter what I say here is going to be wrong, so on that note, I’ll start my little post about Attawapiskat, Ontario. I have never been there, and I can’t say I’d ever want to go to a place that is that remote and obviously in disrepair. I typed that last sentence before having a look at this. Yeah, I will probably never go there, but I think that when you read about children learning, and actually wanting to learn, about their heritage and history of their people, it gives you a little ray of hope for a people that most of the country pays no mind. I know that they are in the news recently, and that’s why I’m writing this post about them, but all in all, they kind of go under the radar.

I’ll admit that I’ve been pretty damn lazy on the blog lately, and I know that you deserve better, but I’ve been fairly busy getting things going with work, and I try to spend as much free time as possible talking and Skyping with Mrs. Birdman and the girls. I was having a really good chat with her today, after we were shut down early, and I had mentioned that I thought I was maybe boring everyone as of late. I don’t get time to see what’s going on in the world, and I’ve just been writing about my days at work, and of my love. Luckily the Chinbag and my baby, along with Pike, have stepped up and filled in some of the gaps for me, and I appreciate it. Not only because it gives me some free time, but because I enjoy variety and entertaining writers, and I hope you do too. So anyhow, I’m sorry for neglecting all of you, and I promise that when I’m home, things will get better, so please bear with me, or I should say “us”, as this is a team effort, and I hope that our team keeps growing.

Jesus I’m a windbag, where were we, right, Attawapiskat, and why I’m writing about it.

We got shut down early today, because it was getting too warm to freeze in the road, so I hung out at an incident scene, and then webcammed with my fiance. I asked her what I could write about that was in the news lately, because she’s up on that shit, and I value her opinion. Then I remembered that Amber (a respected and learned friend) and my cousin (who’s a journalist in Yellowknife, so quite literate herself) sharing a blog post on Facebook, that I didn’t have time to read. I mentioned it to Mrs. B, and she thought it was a good topic, but I said that it probably wasn’t a good idea, because I’m of the mindset, that if your home isn’t habitable, then you should probably move somewhere that’s better. She agreed that I might better skirt that issue, because it’s a bit of a sore spot with a lot of people, so I went to read the news stories of the world to find  a new topic.

Then I thought to myself, ‘Who are you, a politician? You’ve never been one to dodge around something because it’s a bit touchy for some people.’ “You’re right!” I said aloud, as I threw my fist in the air, and gloated openly to the almost empty candy bag on my desk. “I’ll do some reading to see what the arguments are, and give my honest opinion when I’m done.” Well, I do have some opinions, that’s for sure, and I’m not sure everyone wants to hear them. My first instinct was to tell them to get the hell out of there and find better land, but then I thought about giving up, and how I don’t like to do it. Why should I tell these people to do something that I wouldn’t do myself? I then thought that they should fix it by whatever means necessary, but I don’t even know where they should start. 30000 gallons is a lot of diesel fuel, it’s a lot of anything really. I used to haul fluids in the oilfield, and I’ve filled up, and taken out of several 750 bbl tanks. They’re huge, and they’re only like 23000 gallons, so to me, 30000 gallons is catastrophic, and that was in 1979. Why hasn’t this shit been addressed by wh0ever’s in charge over there? That was over thirty years ago, and I think we all know that petroleum products don’t take care of themselves very quickly.

Another thing I wonder, is what’s wrong with apartment buildings? I’m not a construction genius, or any kind of genius, really, but I think that you could probably build an eight-plex for the same cost as three single family homes. Hold on, I’ll go check that out… Yeah, I can’t get any accurate figures, but it’s something along those lines. I actually don’t mind apartments if they’re nice, and have a yard that everyone can share. You get to know your neighbours pretty well that way, and build a closer knit community. Again, I’m not an engineering expert, so maybe apartment buildings have to be made out of concrete, instead of wood, and it’s too expensive to ship all of that concrete up. These are things that I don’t know.

Maybe I should go there and meet the people, before I throw in my two cents worth of uninformed drivel, and maybe while I’m there, I could lend a hand, to help my brothers and sisters get out of the predicament they are in. As I said before, I doubt that I can, or will go there, but my mind is open to the idea. I don’t see how keeping a town there is even feasible or practical, but like I said, it’s not my home, and if something as disastrous happened to my family, I’d want someone to step in and help us out too.

So in closing, I’d like to hear your thoughts and ideas on this subject, and what it is that we can do to help these people. Maybe just to sign a petition, demanding accountability from our less than stellar government agencies, or maybe putting up one of their kids, so they could go to school, because one way or another, theirs is busted. I don’t have any of the answers, but if we brainstorm a bit, I bet we could come up with a better system than what’s happening there now.

With glowing hearts we see thee rise, The True North strong and free,

Birdman

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4 thoughts on “What the hell is an Attawapiskat?

  1. I read your links and am even more confused about it all than before. Am interested to hear others opinions. Too bad we can’t get an unbiased version of the truth about what has happened up there!?!

    • I don’t know if there is one, Patti. That’s why I think you’d almost have to go there to see for yourself. I don’t even know anyone who lives there, or has been there, so it’s hard to judge.

  2. I don’t know how I missed this post when it was posted…. except I worked a LOT in December. I’m glad you wrote about Attawapiskat. It is a VERY complicated subject. A true and deep understanding requires a thorough knowledge of several topics, including: colonization, treaty history, pre-confederation crown relationships, the impact of the residential school system, the provincial-federal jurisdictional bullshit that goes on when it comes to Indians… just to name a few. I, as a Mississauga Ojibway person from Alderville First Nation, with 9 years of post secondary education, and over 12 years working for First Nations (most recently four years as an aboriginal rights lawyer), I AM fairly knowledgable about the complicated history and many factors contributing to the mess in Attawapiskat. I had to force myself to stop reading the internet articles about the crisis there. The articles were not so bad, some even very good, but the “comments” were full of ignorance, racism, hate, and — well, stupid people.
    Anyway, I hope that your blog made some people take a look at the issue and maybe learn a bit, or help out in some way.

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