Clearly, the people living in Attawapiskat are existing in a crisis that represents Canada’s dysfunctional relationship with the first peoples.

How can we truly “fix” Attawapiskat? By fixing the underlying broken relationship.

Occupying #Attawapiskat in Twitter two weeks ago was a great start to engaging in serious improvements.

Phase two begins now with a call for a national dialogue to address the past and create a healthy future. This means looking at cultural genocide, racism, the Indian Act as obsolete in the 21st century, residential schools, language and potlatch prohibitions, treaty neglect and so much more.

Read more about this month’s Twitter action down below, but first join the call by emailing these MPs.

Your email will go to the following email addresses: John.Duncan@parl.gc.ca, Stephen.Harper@parl.gc.ca, Nycole.Turmel@parl.gc.ca, Bob.Rae@parl.gc.ca, Louis.Plamondon@parl.gc.ca, Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca, Linda.Duncan@parl.gc.ca, Carolyn.Bennett@parl.gc.ca, Charlie.Angus@parl.gc.ca.

Fixing Attawapiskat

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On December 7, traffic for the Twitter hashtag #Attawapiskat grew 2 to 3.5 times higher than most days in the previous week. And while the hashtag didn’t trend because it was not new that week, it nevertheless became a focal point, especially as Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan attempted to spin/deflect/skew the issues in question period. And thanks to George Stroumboulopoulos for drawing some attention to the Twitter occupation. David Ball also wrote an integrating piece at the Vancouver Observer covering the Twitter action.

The occupation also drew a small but annoying group of racists, with predictable bigoted and stereotypical comments. It also featured government apologists whose main message box ideas was to focus on solutions and steer away from blaming anyone for anything. The king of apologists was Conservative Senator Don Meredith, who, in but one tweet, managed to offend people in three different ways!

Senator Don Meredith @SenatorDonM Senator Don Meredith
The events in #Attawapiskat are troubling. We need to focus on the solution & not on the problem. Children & families are at stake. #cdnpoli
  1. There are no “events” happening there. There are current manifestations of generations of systemic bureaucratic neglect and abuse.
  2. Nothing is troubling. That word captures but 1% of the extent of the crisis there and throughout the country.
  3. While focusing on a solution is great, the advice to not focus on the problem is extraordinarily dismissive and also symbolic of Canada’s broken relationship with first peoples.
So now we have an opportunity to channel our demands to our leaders with a call to act. Scroll back up if you didn’t send in your letter to the Aboriginal Affairs Minister, the prime minister, leaders of all four federal parties, the Aboriginal Affairs critics and the Attawapiskat MP.Truly fixing Attawapiskat means fixing our national shame: looking back to address our past and looking forward to build a new future together.

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and in a limited capacity in Facebook, and at his website, dgiVista.org.

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