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Northern Dene Alliance Radiation & Pollution Reports Related to My Health Problems

This is what I wrote in my letter to the Minister of Indigenous Affairs: I feel guilt and remorse over the fact that the children of Attawapiskat do not have a school after all these years. My guilt comes from the fact that I taught in isolated Aboriginal communities and I had difficulty living under the conditions of the schools, teacher ages, drinking water and air pollution. First of all, the schools heating and ventilation systems either made the temperature far too hot in the summer and far too cold in the winter. In early September, our school was so hot that many students had nose bleeds and we had to close down the school until it cooled down. We had to end our school year a month early in the beginning of June because the school was far too hot to work in. The air in the school was dusty and I developed asthma while I was working there. A pipe in the ceiling burst and toxic sewage sprayed all over the hallways. Secondly, my teacher age had septic sewage dumping into my basement causing condensation with horrible fumes and I had to wear a mask when I went in the basement to do my laundry. I began to have breathing problems, frequent coughs and an inability to run. Thirdly, the tap water was cloudy and murky with dust particles in it. Even when I filtered it I could not drink it. When I showered or bathed I always got a skin rash. The air in the community smelled bad because once a month a plane came and dumped toxic waste in a dumping site near our reserve. When I spoke to the Principal about it he told me not to worry. Later I found out from a colleague that the school division was paid for allowing the toxic dumping. As a result of these living conditions, I have had to have a hysterectomy and I need asthma inhalers because I suffer from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). I feel badly that I left my students, even though my health was severely affected. I should have stayed and helped them to fight for their rights for healthy living conditions. So I am speaking up now. The living conditions in Canada’s Aboriginal Communities must meet the health standards of the World Health Organization (WHO). If teachers are unable to survive in the living conditions, how can you expect children to survive? Proper schools and homes must be built with proper construction, heating, ventilation, sewage and sanitation systems. The children on these reserves are innocent and debating where the funds went neglects the immediate needs of the children. I respectfully request you to give immediate attention to Aboriginal communities in need. Sincerely, Anna Wilson M Ed.