(Photo: Chief Arthur Moore)APTN National NewsCONSTANCE LAKE, Ont.–Indian Affairs is forcing the reduction of bottled water shipments to a northern Ontario First Nations that has been without a clean water supply source since this summer, according to the band chief.Constance Lake Chief Arthur Moore said Indian Affairs says it will now only pay for 1.5 litres of water a day for every person in the community. The community had been shipping in six litres of water a day for every person since late July when it decided that algae-covered Constance Lake was no longer a safe source of water for the community with a population of 900, said Moore, in a telephone interview.“I am absolutely outraged with this decision. Access to a safe and usable water supply is the right of every person living in this country,” said Moore.Constance Lake is about 940 kilometres north of Toronto.Moore said he only found out Thursday evening that the department had decided to force the reduction of water shipments on Nov. 15. He said this was done despite Health Canada advising the community it needed at least seven litres of water a day for drinking and personal hygiene.“I continue to fear that the lack of clean water will lead to despair and ill health for the people of Constance Lake First Nation,” he said.Moore said he is worried about the elders and pregnant women in his community.Indian Affairs’ Ontario regional office said they were looking into the issue.Moore said the community has spent $56,000 on shipping water. The money has been taken from other band program and services and they need Indian Affairs to cover the costs. The band has been paying about $6 for eight litres of water.Moore said the community had to stop drawing water from Constance Lake because the body of water is slowly dying and has a thick layer of algae. He said the community is working on pumping water to their treatment plant from an underground well by January as an interim measure.The band is currently also looking at long-term sources of water and hoping to receive funding to replace the aging treatment plant.The community is also currently receiving tanker loads of water for laundry, dish washing and toilets from a private co-generation power station about seven kilometers from the community that is drawing water from the Kabina River.Moore, however, is concerned about the community’s ability to continue supplying an adequate amount of drinking water to its residents.In addition to the department’s decision to cut the amount of water they’ll pay for, the bottled water distributor in Cochrane, Ont., has decided to terminate its current contract.Moore said the band council is now looking at other distributors in Thunder Bay and Timmins,Ont.“It’s not a good situation,” he said. read more
APTN National NewsThe look of the missing women’s inquiry in Vancouver is about to drastically change.In what appears to be a move to meet the pressures of a looming deadline, Wally Oppal announced major changes to his commission.Changes that took observers by surprise and on first blush disappointed them once again.APTN National News reporter Rob Smith has the story.
Beverly AndrewsAPTN National NewsEarly last year, APTN told you the story of a young girl from Alberta who was denied dental care by the federal government.This week, her family was in court arguing on why she should have been covered.But the fight is more for future First Nations families who may run into the same thing as the child’s family paid out of pocket to get the braces.“If I can make it easier for one parent behind me so they don’t have to go through this ridiculous amount of red tape or deal with policies that just do not make sense and are completely outdated than its absolutely worth every minute of my time and my financial investment to it,” said Stacey Shiner.It turns out the government has paid more fighting the family in court than it would have cost to get the braces in the first firstname.lastname@example.org read more
Sophie-Claude MillerAPTN NewsMost children of Eeyou Istchee – James Bay learn to call geese at a young age.They even compete at it during celebrations.That’s because In James Bay, the Cree Nation still survives from hunting harvests as much as they can.Spring is the season for goose hunting break and it’s not only a few weeks off in the school calendar, it’s also the celebration of a spring tradition for Crees.Many say the hunting seasons are more important than Christmas to them.(Winnie Gull Saganash with her grandsons at the end of the goose break. Photo courtesy: Don Saganash)Most families will leave the community to go hunt at their cabin in the bush on their hunting grounds.Don Saganash says with a lot of pride, ‘’everybody goes to their camps [during the goose break], they go hunting and the community of Waswanipi is going to look like a ghost town,” he said.Johnny Cooper is an Elder from Waswanipi.He was the official translator for the Peace of the Brave negotiations.Cooper spends 240 days a year at his camp located 60km north of Waswanipi, and on the trap line he is responsible for.He said it wasn’t always about hunting geese.Spending time with relatives and showing the cultural Cree way of life to descendants is just as important for most.‘’ To have my grandchildren around with me, take them and show them how to hunt for goose break, show them everything, what I can do, go for boat rides and kills some ducks too, ‘’ mentions Don Saganash when asked what his favorite part of goose break is.(Victor Saganash with the geese taken during the break. Photo courtesy: Don Saganash)If the Goose break is very significant today, it wasn’t always the case in Eeyou Istchee.‘’The main activity was any fur bearing animal. Because at that time Hudson Bay and the different associations that were buying furs were after, so that was the main activity of the Crees at that time, ‘’ said Cooper.The Elder also explained that goose break was not a set date.It’s used to be whenever people saw them – that’s when they went hunting.But children started going to school and the goose break was born.“Goose break was initiated in the calendar of the Crees when they began to have their own schools, that’s how goose break came about, ’’ said Cooper.Traditionally, in the Cree lifestyle, the ladies cook and the men start to hunt at quite a young age.(Goose is cooked slowly over an open for hours. Photo courtesy: Stanley Saganash)It isn’t rare to see elderly women that never shot a gun and men that have started to shoot since 9 years old.In 2019, the roles can change.Don Saganash wanted to show his daughter to be autonomous in the bush.‘’My daughter, she really likes to hunt, anything, when she kills something she’s, she’s going to butch it. Once I show her how to do it, she is going to do it.“She doesn’t need a man, ‘’ he said laughing.Goose meat is cooked slowly over an open fire with the sigabon traditional technique for at least six hours.“By the fire, rope and around the stove like, we twist it around like that, because we didn’t have no oven stove, we had to cook them around the fire, ‘’ said Winnie Gull Saganash.The goose and moose hunting, as well as fishing are not close to go extinct according to the community members.“We still hunt and trap a lot, for those who say that’s dying off, I don’t think it’s dying, I don’t think people are just going to stop fishing one day and not eat fish, ’’ said Cooper with a big email@example.com@sophieclaude read more