Still No Public School for the Kids in Attawapiskat (Part III)
For the past three months, my life has changed drastically. Since I packed my hiking back-pack and headed past the fiftieth parallel going north to Attawapiskat, Ontario not much remained the same for me. My road has led me to many politicians’ offices and the Ministry of Northern and Indian Affairs, led by Mr. John Duncan is probably thinking I am some sort of lunatic bombarding them with emails. I don’t care, they can think whatever they want – I want to see a public school built for the children of Attawapiskat. I walk alone because I can adapt to almost any circumstance or environment. I do learn from chameleons – survival is what matters.
The story of the community of Attawapiskat is a tragic one. I saw how life exists there and survival is not easy. People’s houses look like portables to me. Maybe I’m stuck-up and imagine that all houses should have actual walls and not a few pieces of cardboard stuck together. I am not sure what to think. This was their bloody land! Native Americans had their land, culture, almost everything taken away from them. Shoved onto reservations, which for the most part is land not usable for agriculture, Native Americans were basically living in concentration camps after Europeans settled in the Americas. Not allowed to unite, not allowed to move; just frozen in time and drowned in the new poison given to them: alcohol.
I’m not supposed to dwell on such things, I am told.
“What do you want to do!? Kick everyone out?” My father looked at me suspiciously.
No, I don’t want to kick anyone out but the injustice done to Native Americans has not stopped. Children don’t have schools to go to. Attawapiskat is not the only community either. Kashechewan is the same. Moosonee has similar problems. There are roughly fifty Native American communities in Canada where children have no public school to go to. And what drives me mad is that somehow, everyone knows about this. Two weeks ago, sitting in Mr. Bob Rae’s office (Liberal MP) he mentioned to me that he was in Attawapiskat in 1989. Then he said:
“Nothing much has changed since then.”
I drilled on my requests and did not comment on that sentence. It was not the appropriate time to do so but that is bloody outrageous! Nothing has been done since ’89? That is shameful! I just learned about the issue of kids with no public schools here in Ontario, Canada and I for sure will not let decades pass without correcting this problem.
Where does one get in life without good education? With no proper school and especially at the public school level, it is my opinion that we are forfeiting our children’s future. If Canada can help build schools in Haiti and if we can pledge to build fifty schools in Afghanistan before we completely pull-out, can we not pledge to build fifty schools for kids in this country?
“These other clowns talk loud and they won’t shut-up,
I’ve declared war therefore, from here on
There ain’t no army that could attack I ain’t prepared for
I’m in rare form, scaring the norm
All night long ‘till I disappear in the dawn” - Violent Times, Ill Bill