First NationsMiningUncategorized

Musing and reflecting about Attawapiskat and DeBeers

what could have been and my opinion


Without confirmation, someone mentioned that the band administration office had received five hundred thousand a year for administrative uses. DeBeers had sidestep us out of financial compensation, then again if they allowed the Chief and Council to read the contract. Before being nudged into signing the contract.

Circa 2009, the community members protested and setting up road blocks due to our traditional lands being mined with little compensation. They wanted the terms with the IBA to be revisited, to address various issues for Attawapiskat. At the time, I haven’t kept up with details, but there were negotiations between protestors, AFN and DeBeers. Funds trickled in, a bit, barely enough. But enough for opportunities to take root.

Looking back, I would prefer things to be done differently. For example, if things were done in this way. Bear in mind, I am not greedy, and we’re still dirt poor. This is just scenario of what if we done things right. But ten million a year is ideal, one, it would ease the debt and two, less borrowing. It would pull Attawapiskat out of the gutter. First year, a third would go to pay off debt and dividing the rest of the pie accordingly. The second year, twenty percent for administrative purposes, forty percent for trust and the remainder for miscellaneous purposes. Such as maintenance of local network and infrastructure. To alleviate the overcrowding issues, mental health and unemployment, naturally the funds from different sources will slow to a trickle.

Gradually getting Attawapiskat debt-free and allowing the Trust Fund to grow into a sizable nest egg. Depending on how the Trust is being procured and used by Attawapiskat Band Administration Office. Payments to the elders in this community would come from ABAO. Granted that the funds are managed wisely.

Well, in another scenario, a minimum of five million a year from DeBeers is adequate and realistic, not to mention that C&C should have negotiated harder. But that canoe had all ready left the shore.

Originally I had thought that it would be better that each family would get four hundred dollars worth of food, via DeBeers, while two hundred worth of food dispensed to single households and five hundred in funds given to elders. In addition to three million a year from DeBeers. Only once a year. But after crunching the numbers, that suggestion is not feasible and socialistic. But that is just my opinion in an hypothetical situations and random thinking.

In an imperfect world; a few good things, the operators of Victor Mine hired folks from Attawapiskat and other first nations people from several communities along with outsiders. It helped the Canadian economy while its time here. Several small businesses came and went, while a handful remained or changed hands.

And thanks to various groups, we have 2G mobile network and Xittel internet. Hopefully we would get an upgrade to 3G network with data plans.

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Barry Koostachin

Barry Koostachin is writer and a blogger who lives in Attawapiskat, Ontario. You can find his blog at Just another inane writer

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