The recent public outcry in Canada about the plight of Attawapiskat and other First Nations prompted ongoing media coverage not only throughout the country but also abroad. With the Crown–First Nations Gathering coming in the wake of the Attawapiskat disclosures, the eyes of the world have been on Canada’s aboriginal peoples.
Al Jazeera English in particular has done some in-depth stories on the issue of Canada’s indigenous. This half-hour segment of the Arab news network’s show Inside Story focused on both Canada’s aboriginals and on American Indians.
Here, Canadian aboriginal children’s advocate Cindy Blackstock—the activist who has attracted the Canadian government’s surveillance attention for her defense of the nation’s young—is interviewed along with Charlie Angus, the New Democratic Party Member of Parliament (MP) for the district encompassing Attawapiskat. The man who first brought attention to the deplorable housing conditions on the remote reserve near James Bay calls the situation “Canada’s Katrina.”
Also on hand are Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), and Rex Lee Jim, vice president of the Navajo Nation. Although this segment previews the gathering in Canada, which took place on January 24, the perspectives from the two sides of the border provide insight into the differences and similarities in relations of each country’s indigenous to their respective federal governments.