And what has changed!!!
I've read reports that INAC didn't know about the condition. They've known since July, 2009.
Chief extends invitation to Harper
Aug 21 2009
By BRANDON WALKER THE DAILY PRESS
Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Hall says if INAC Minister Chuck Strahl won't act then it's time Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets involved to help the community.
Talks broke down between the First Nation and INAC officials in Toronto on Wednesday after meeting to discuss a variety of issues.
Afterward about 50 community members, many evacuees from an Attawapiskat sewage spill, climbed into buses to travel to Ottawa for a protest yesterday.
They unsuccessfully tried to meet with Indian and Northern Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl.
The First Nation invited him to visit their community.
"We want him to see (the living conditions) for himself," Hall said.
"We've done our share in trying to meet and talk with his officials, the bureaucrats.
"To a certain extent they're helping us with the cleanup."
Talks broke down when the First Nation asked for financial assistance for roughly 90 people who were evacuated from the community after sewage spilled into the basements of eight homes.
The community wants INAC to pay for food and shelter for evacuees.
INAC "looks at it only as a housing issue, not a health issue," Hall said.
"Health Canada has even said it's a health issue."
The community chose to evacuate nearly 100 people after the government failed to provide assistance.
A lack of housing meant there was no place for them to stay. Evacuees were flown to Cochrane, where they lived in a hotel.
The temporary plan is to move them to a healing lodge in Attawapiskat, although it is only meant for 20 people, not 90.
"Our manager is telling us if we overflow the healing lodge (which has its own sewage system) we'll have the same problems with flooding," Hall said.
The sewage system failed at the end of July because it hasn't been maintained.
"We need people that are trained to operate the sewage plants," Hall said.
These issues won't go away until they're dealt with, she said.
The sewage flood brought to light a lack of housing in the community.
It has been estimated there are about 1,000 homeless people and community officials have concerns about what will happen when snow flies in the sub-Arctic community.
The First Nation community will continue making the public aware of the situation.
"I don't know what Minister Strahl will do, but we officially invited him to our community," Hall said.
"It's time now for the Prime Minister to take a look at the situation, not just Indian Affairs."
MP Charlie Angus (Timmins-James Bay -- NDP) agreed.
"All week we've seen Mr. Harper talk about how he's going to defend the land of the North with F16s and submarines," Angus said. "Why don't we do it with school books, sewage plants and two-by-fours to build some houses?
"If Strahl won't live up to his basic responsibilities then it comes back to Mr. Harper."