Ian Stewart traveled to Attawapiskat in November 2009, to investigate the development of a De Beers diamond mine, and the impact it was having on the nearby First Nation community. Two years later, Chief Theresa Spence declared a state of emergency due to inadequate housing. These photographs show what it was like to live in the community at that time. Living conditions may have improved since then, thanks to the increased attention and government funding brought on by Attawapiskat’s presence in the media spotlight.
On April 30, 2013, a state of emergency was declared in Attawapiskat yet again. Flooding and sewer backups had triggered the shutdown of schools and the evacuation of the local hospital.
Ian Stewart works as a photojournalist and filmmaker in Canada’s far north. His photographs have appeared in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, National Post and Up Here Magazine, among others. He currently lives in Whitehorse where he is staff photographer for the Yukon News.