Monday, December 24, 2012

First Nations - Hunger Strike for justice

Chief Theresa Spence on 14th day of hunger
strike - Craig Brown, staff writer


http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/12/24-1

The 'Idle No More' movement, a campaign of grassroots
First Nations protests, has spread like wildfire over
the past week in response to bills passed by the
conservative Canadian government.

First Nations protesters march towards Parliament Hill
during a demonstration as part of the spreading 'Idle
No More' movement in Ottawa, Canada, December 21,
2012. REUTERS/Chris Wattie Anger to the recently
passed C-45, the Harper government omnibus budget
bill, has fueled the growing movement.

Bil C-45 includes changes to the Canadian Indian Act
regarding how reserve lands are managed, making them
easier to develop and be taken away from the First
Nation people.

The bill also removes thousands of lakes and streams
from the list of federally protected bodies of water.

"This is unacceptable. They have made a unilateral
decision remove the protection of waterways... Shell
Canada has proposed to mine out 21km of the Muskeg
River, a river of cultural and biological
significance. This ultimately gives the tar sands
industry a green light to destroy vital waterways
still used by our people," stated Eriel Deranger,
Communication Coordinator for the Athabasca Chipewyan
First Nation.

Atiwapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence has been
on a hunger strike since December 11th, resolved to
starve herself to death unless Prime Minister Stephen
Harper meets to discuss treaty rights, and Canada's
relationship with its Indigenous peoples. She is
currently living in a teepee on Victoria Island, in
Ottawa, just a kilometer away from the Parliament
buildings. So far, Harper has rejected calls to meet
with Spence.

Chief Spence tweeted on Sunday, the 13th day of her
hunger strike:

ChiefTheresaSpence @ChiefTheresa

Grassroots and leaders plse keep the pressure and
momentum going #idlenomore "I am still strong and will
not give up!" 23 Dec 12

Over the last few days Idle No More supporters took
over malls and public spaces all over Canada and parts
of the US with a series of flashmobs performing
traditional round dances in support of the movement.

Videos at  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/12/24-1
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