Attawapiskat leader dismisses audit as hunger strike continues

Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence dismissed an audit of the band's finances as a distraction as she endured the 28th day of her hunger strike.

Spence has been at odds with the Canadian government ever since the band was placed under third-party management in 2011. She has been trying to draw attention to dire housing, economic and social conditions on the Ontario reserve, culminating with her ongoing hunger strike that has inspired the Idle No More Movement.

During that time, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs hired Deloitte and Touche to conduct an audit of about $104 million in federal funds that the band received between April 2005 and November 2011. A copy of the report was finally posted online on Monday after copies were leaked to the media.

The audit said the band didn't always document how it spent the money. But there was no suggestion of theft or misappropriation.

“I remain steadfast on my journey and will not allow any distractions at this time to waiver the goal set forth," Spence said in a statement, according to news reports.

Spence is expected to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper this Friday, exactly one month after she began her hunger strike. Harper is also meeting with other First Nations leaders but has not specifically mentioned Spence or the situation at Attawapiskat.

Get the Story:
Scathing federal government audit dismissed by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence as ‘distraction’ (The Toronto Star 1/8)
Federal government audit ‘severely critical’ of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence (The Toronto Star 1/7)
Attawapiskat chief slams audit leak as 'distraction' (CBC 1/7)

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