Earlier today, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development published, on its Web site, an audit into the finances of the Attawapiskat First Nation. The audit covers the period from 2005-2011. Theresa Spence was the deputy chief from 2007 until 2010 and since 2010 has been the band’s chief.
In a letter, dated August 28, sent to Chief Spence and which forms part of the audit, auditors Deloitte Touche said:
“…we were unable to conclude whether the claimed expenditures were in accordance with the terms and conditions of the funding agreements between Attawapiskat First Nation and AANDC and Health Canada, respectively. The lack of financial management controls to support compliance with the terms and conditions of the agreements is inconsistent with the requirements of the funding agreements with the Government of Canada. We were unable to determine if the funds were spent for their intended purpose.
There is no evidence of due diligence in the use of public funds, including the use of funds for housing.”
Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan did not take questions from reporters today but issued this statement through a spokesperson: ”The independent audit from Deloitte and Touche LLP speaks for itself, and we accept its conclusions and recommendations.”
Chief Spence, like Duncan, did not take questions from reporters today but, a few minutes ago, issued this statement:
For immediate release:
January 7, 2013, Victoria Island, traditional territory of the Algonquian Peoples….a controversial leaked audit (which was completed last September), is no more than a distraction of the true issue and to discredit Chief Spence who is willing to lay down her life for a larger cause. The international Indigenous Rights movement is growing in momentum and the Cree leader shares this today, “I remain steadfast on my journey and will not allow any distractions at this time to waiver the goal set forth. We are asking that the legislation related to lands encoded in Bill C45 must be rescinded as soon as parliament resumes. Implement obligations under Section 35 of the Constitution of Canada. Lastly, there needs to be a process of resource revenue sharing for Indigenous Peoples,” stated Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation.
Chief Theresa Spence is positively overwhelmed with the support and unity that Indigenous Peoples and supporters have displayed over this past month in her hunger strike. She gives special acknowledgement to the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation youth and leaders that completed their march from Queens Park (Toronto) to Parliament Hill (Ottawa) today.
“As party to Treaty No. 9, it is clear that a sharing of lands with the newcomers was for settlement purposes only. There was no surrender of the lands and resources. Without the Treaties, the British Crown would not have been able to enact legislation to create Canada. Canada is a Treaty successor state and has international obligations to implement the Treaties in good faith that brings honour to the Crown,” stated Chief Spence.
Chief Theresa Spence entered into her twenty eighth day of her hunger strike and has prompted others to take the sacred fast for change. “We must honour these efforts by seeking spiritual help and direction collectively at what will be seen as one of the most critical times that Indigenous Peoples have ever known on Turtle Island,” concluded Chief Spence.
Chief Spence’s camp is welcoming all people and dignitaries to Victoria Island but is asking that all visitors come after 1pm daily. There will be no visitations scheduled for Thursday, January 10th, 2013 in preparation for the meeting with the Prime Minister of Canada. Leading up to the January 11th meeting, Indigenous Women, Elders, Knowledge and Faith Keepers will seek out sacred instructions rooted in Inherent rights and responsibilities by returning to ceremony and protocol in the spirit of hope, humanity and the 8th Fire.
Categories: Aboriginal Affairs