Ottawa Sued Over Mould On First Nation Reserve

A recent judicial ruling, “certifying” a class action lawsuit is the first court ruling to address either the epidemic of mould on reserves across Canada, or the issue of who is responsible for providing adequate housing to First Nations, says the lawyer spearheading the case. It came despite a bid by Health Canada to exclude the opinions of one of its own scientists, who has said that some Long Lake First Nation homes were unfit for human habitation.

Aboriginal Tourism Operators Applaud Approved Destination Status

The British Columbia Aboriginal Tourism Association is applauding the awarding of Approved Destination Status to Canada by the Government of China, calling the announcement “tremendous news for aboriginal tourism and the revitalization of aboriginal culture in British Columbia.” The change, announced during the recent visit to China by Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to have a major boost to Canada’s tourism industry in general, which is adapting to the impact of a higher Canadian dollar, which in turn affects tourism volumes coming from the United States.

Ontario Premier Urges Ottawa To Improve First Nations Relationship

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty called on the Federal Government Tuesday to reconsider its unwillingness to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Charter on Indigenous Rights in 2007, with only Canada, the US, New Zealand and Australia voting against it.
Australia has recently said it is reconsidering its position.

Manitoba First Nation Chief Defends Compensation Package

The Chief of the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba, Glenn Hudson , defended his and the councillors’ salaries stating his qualifications, such as possessing an engineering degree and securing the largest First Nations land settlement deal in Canada totalling $190 million. A high-ranking official with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs called Hudson’s compensation “outrageous.” The official, who spoke to CBC News on condition of anonymity, said chiefs in other parts of the province typically make between $40,000 and $78,000 annually.

Norway House Employee, Spouse Arrested In $1M First Nation Fraud

Kimberly Apetegon, the Norway House First Nation’s payroll administer and her husband Stephen were arrested last week charged with theft and fraud over $1 million after a year-long investigation by the RCMP. Chief Marcel Balfour said, “there were no signs, there were no fancy cars…”. The missing money was first discovered by a Royal Bank official in Toronto, who alerted the band, Balfour said, adding that the RCMP were brought in almost immediately.

Aboriginal Healing Foundation Programs Threatened

Churchill MP Niki Ashton, Sagkeeng First Nation Chief Donovan Fontaine and Black River First Nation Chief Sheldon Kent held a press conference Wednesday to call on Ottawa to extend the programming funded through the Aboriginal Healing Foundation, whose programs are set to wind down at the end of March after a decade in operation. A spokesperson for Minister Strahl stated he understands the organization’s importance supporting community-based healing initiatives and a decision whether or not to extend funding is forthcoming.