Sep 11, 2012 - Last Real Indians Press Release
By : Chase IronEyes
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Poundmaker Cree Nation, Treaty 6 Territory: Poundmaker Councilor takes stand on school closures and leadership
For the third time this year, Poundmaker School has been forced to close its doors to students and staff due to ongoing unresolved sewer problems. Parents and staff have been complaining of symptoms ranging from nausea, headaches and fatigue for months if not years.
Councilor Colby Tootoosis, states that the problems are part of a larger governance problem and the children’s health and their education is being sacrificed as a result.
‘The school has been politicized by the previous and current Chief and Council, any attempts by concerned staff or parents to bring forward genuine concerns and issues, is interpreted by the leadership, as ‘politicking’, and this can result in firings or other retributive actions by the leadership, so people are afraid to speak out. A mechanical assessment was done on the school which revealed that the maintenance staff did not have the required expertise and equipment to carry-out any work and repairs. The maintenance staff is headed by the Chief’s brother. Of all the staff that has been let go or contracts not renewed, the Chief’s brother remains despite not having the required skills to maintain the school and protect the children from poisonous and toxic sewer gas …It has become a life and death situation with our children being exposed.’
Re-elected Chief Duane Antoine was convicted of fraud and theft charges in May 2012 and is to be sentenced on September 18, 2012. Band members are talking about calling an emergency meeting to discuss the school situation as well as ongoing governance issues that have not been resolved, such as transparency, accountability.
Councilor Tootoosis has declared that:
‘I will not allow the endangerment of our children’s health and education due to negligent leadership. Our children are falling behind due to constant closures of our school. I have to speak for my people, I am also declaring that I will not back down in bringing about accountability and our Traditional Band Custom governance…’
For further information contact:
Chase Iron Eyes
4265 45th Street S ste 111-39
Fargo, ND 58104