TD Bank offers support to First Nations
by Teresa Amy
TORONTO - The rash of suicides in Pikangikum and Attawapiskat reserves has prompted the set up of a First Nations Emergency Trust Fund at the Toronto Dominion Bank.
"At an all Ontario Chiefs Assembly a couple of weeks ago they agreed to establish a First Nations trust fund at the main branch of the Toronto Dominion Bank," said Marshall Murdock, vice-president responsible for National Aboriginal
Banking at TD Bank.
The emergency trust fund will allow reserves to draw funds to create programs to deal with suicides and other social problems, said Murdock.
"TD will be able to take donations in the 1,000 branches across Canada," he said.
Pikangikum's Chief Gordon Peters, and Attawapiskat's Deputy Chief Greg Shisheen are attempting to establish a charitable organization to give tax receipts to businesses and corporations, said Murdock.
Chief Peters made his own plea for assistance from First Nations and non-aboriginal peoples alike at the Toronto International Pow Wow where he announced the creation of the trust fund, describing the situation on the remote reserves as "a crisis for all First Nations people."
Murdock added that one of the reasons TD Bank was chosen to be the bank to have the trust fund is because the TD Bank has been involved at the assembly.
"I saw this as a role for my bank to exercise its social responsibility towards First Nations people," said Murdock. "Banks have a corporate and social responsibility, we are hoping to set a precedent to get other corporations involved."