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No School for the Forgotten Children of Attawapiskat, Ontario (Part I)

Updated on November 3, 2018

Children in the northern community of Attawapiskat, Ontario have been without a proper school building for over thirty years. The first school that was built for them in 1979 had the grounds infected as a result of a diesel spill soon after the building took place. That school was closed and demolished in 2001 after teachers and children were experiencing head-aches and dizziness. The government issued portables for the public school kids, which were placed next to the diesel infected field (which to this day has not been cleaned). Many empty promises have been made by the government over the years and still, the children there, are now attending school in unsafe and unhealthy conditions.

The portables in which kids go to school are in a deplorable state: gusts of wind are coming from underneath the doors, there are ventilation problems and recently a grade two teacher slipped down the stairs and injured her back. At the entrance of the community center which has a gymnasium used by the elementary school and the high-school, there is a giant puddle of water because the roof is leaking. Near that puddle there are electrical wires running along the ground. To the right of the entrance there are large cracks visible in the wall and ceiling. The gym is also not properly ventilated and walking in the equipment room one can see that there are spots of black mold growing all over the ceiling.

The community of Attawapiskat just seems to be forgotten by everyone. There is an enormous housing problem as well and as of January 18th, 2011 the office of Chief Theresa Spence stated that: THM (Trihalomethane) levels for the drinking water exceed the Ontario drinking water standard. This is the norm for some people living in Ontario, Canada.

For over thirty years, politicians have neglected the needs of the people of Attawapiskat. It is now the time to bring awareness to this matter and to ask politicians to act decisively in solving the educational problems which Canadian children face. It is simply unfair and inhumane to allow the kids in this country to endure such conditions in order to attend public school.

NDP MP Charlie Angus introduced Motion 571, which calls for an equal standard of education to be applied for all children in Canada. That motion must become law and a school in Attawapiskat needs to be built without further delay. Kids are indeed suffering and they are not receiving the level of education they deserve. Considering that the public school experience is the foundation to one’s life and knowledge, it is important that all children are given the chance to learn. The future depends on them.

(Note: The new, Kattawapiskak Public School was finally opened on September, 2014.)


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    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      7 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Greetings Mr. Helms,

      I in no way was insinuating that Americans should have to pay for what the Government of Canada should be paying for (i.e. public schools for children). This is the duty of Canadian officials/leaders to take care of and it is their failure which resulted in this tragic story.

      All the best and thank You for stopping by!

    • profile image

      jeffry helms 

      7 years ago

      What's this "niggard" attitude,where you think someone else has to fix something for you???? You guys think americans are made out of money and you should be taken cared of and supported?? Their are far too many wannabe foreigners in this country and that same wannabe attitude leads to a "reliant" attitude-where you think you have the right to expect someone else to support you and do you house fixing.

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank You for the read Mr. Aravind. Yes, it is sad but when I saw the happy and joyful kids in Attawapiskat (even when their human rights are ignored), I kicked all the sadness aside and made some promises for things to change. I have the Will.

      All the best!

    • aravindb1982 profile image

      Aravind Balasubramanya 

      8 years ago from Puttaparthi, India

      This is certainly shocking! So many such things happening out here in India too... :(

      Makes me sad...

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      8 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Greetings Mr. John, my fourth and fifth photos are from the entrance to the arena: the walls are cracked and water is leaking inside. The last few photographs are from inside the arena - the equipment room: there is mold growing all over the ceiling.

      I would say the arena is not so nice ... One of the problems in Attawapiskat is that building is done in a very ignorant way. There is no quality to the work done and everything breaks in no time. It's not what one builds but how it is built.

      Thank you for your comment and time. All the best.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      you guys built a nice new bout putting those funds into a school....

    • Darlene Sabella profile image

      Darlene Sabella 

      9 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

      My dear Mr. Happy, this is not a happy story, and my first question is, are these children Native Indians,the name of the town or reservations sounds much like a natives language? This is the case also around the world, I am fighting for the Native Americans and I am so pleased to you taking a strong stand on this issue. We all deserve equal rights as humans. rate up up love & peace darski

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      And what are the people of this community doing to make anything better? They're sitting around waiting for the government to come in from the outside and fix everything?

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Mr. Mickey, thank you for your kind words and yes, our moves have to be approved by the "money people" - that is the system I inherited from my past generations. I wouldn't have it that way but it seems the past generations had no problem with it and allowed things to get to where they are. Now it's work-time to change the status-quo.

      Mr. Adam, I am thankful for They are doing a good job at bringing awareness to this story. That is not exactly the response I am waiting for though. I am waiting for the shovel to go into the ground in Attawapiskat, to finally start building that public school; anything else is simply not enough. For now we must continue working. Cheers!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      There has been a response! An organization called Heartspeak has created a documentary and is running a campaign.


    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 

      9 years ago

      God bless you Mr. Happy. Keep up your beautiful work! The news folks don't see money coming their way from it. It seems like all our moves have to be approved by "the money people". A country as big and successful as Canada should be able to put up some great schools. It's ABC! Thank you Mr. Happy!

    • Mr. Happy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mr. Happy 

      9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Mrs. Lynda, once again thank you for the support. I am indeed trying to push-out this story as much as I can.

      Mr. Tony believe me, I want some answers! I shall get them soon. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

      Mrs. Austinstar, many thanks for stopping by. The Cree people of Attawapiskat, Ontario have been writing politicians for thirty years now. Not many seem to care, or not enough to get a school built for those kids.

      This story has been sent-out to different news organizations ... I am not sure why they will not touch it. Thank you again for the support!

    • Austinstar profile image


      9 years ago from Somewhere near the heart of Texas

      Does this tribe have a vote? Can they write to their representatives?

      Can you send this hub to the local and regional news?

      You have good documentation of what is going on here, spread the information. We will help.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      This is criminal. Like Lynda I hope that you get some response to this travesty.

      Love and peace


    • lmmartin profile image


      9 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      I hope you can get this out to as many people as possible. A deplorable state of affairs. I'll tweet it for you. Try and get others to do the same. Lynda


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