Monday, September 10, 2007

Government Report on Kashechewan

Above, Gabe smiles after a hard day working in the field.

After seeing the picture of St. Andrew's burnt to the ground I googled the event to see if I could find more specific information. Instead I found this intense government report outlining the deficincies in the living conditions on the reserve and recomended remedial activities. While I was somewhat aware of many of the problems that plauged the community in 2000-2001, when I worked there, I certainly did not have the full cross section, nor details. Here is a link to the report.

None of what I've read has surprised me, Kashechewan's problems are exacerbated by some special issues (largely damage done by flooding and lack of road access). However, I was shocked to find out that funding for Kashechewan is based on a population of 1100 people. Even in 2000, there was most certainly 1500 people and since that time the population has incresed, especially after a bill was enacted extending status to many people who had lost it because their father's were not native. I has also failed to make the leap of thought to realize that the changed post-secondary hours would result in poorer attendance. Sigh. I wish that things could turn around a bit for them. They sound like they could use a good engineer/urban planner and a manager. I foudn Mr. Alan Pope's comments on the process and outcome of the community canvas interesting and in light of the decision to rehabilitate the community at its existing location - a bit surprising. The largest challange of a remote community with limited employment and revenue sources is to take the first steps (especially in terms of securing both start up funding and the building a skilled labour pool able to compete in a market that is remote from outside markets). I wish them sucess and hope that the education and health situations are promptly improved. Its strange how little has happened since the initial evacuation.

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