Ottawa goods bound for Attawapiskat arrive at destination

Annette Francis
APTN National News
It was a long, slow process, but 19 tonnes of donations have made it to the final destination of Attawapiskat Cree nation on the shores of Hudson Bay.

The goods include personal hygiene items, school and art supplies, music, sports equipment and household items.

“We’re going to give it out to the high school and elementary schools first and whatever is left over we’re going to invite youth that aren’t in school,” said Robert Sutherland, spokesperson for the Sounding Echo Youth Committee in Attawapiskat. “After that, we’re going to open it up to the community.”

Sutherland said there are three sea-cans full of things that now needs to be sorted.

Starting Tuesday night the group of volunteers will move everything into the high school, where it will be sorted in each classroom.

Annie and Company, an Ottawa-based organization put a call out for donations for the community during the suicide crisis in the northern Ontario reserve last year.

The goods were transported via planes, barges, transport trucks and over the ice road.

The community has garnered a lot of attention during the crisis.

A number of government ministers made the trip to the community to talk about solutions.

In April, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett promised money for a new youth centre.  that was promised by Minister Bennett last April, during her visit to the community at the time of the crisis, is still in the planning stages.

That centre is still in the planning stages.

According to Sutherland, it will take three to five years before it’s built.

“I know they hired consultants to engage with the youth, to get as much information as they can about what they want in the youth centre,” he said.

Meanwhile, construction is underway for a temporary centre, which will be housed at the old band council office. Sutherland said it should be up and running by the end of summer.

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