Idle No More protesters make good on threats to shut down Canadian infrastructure
Making good on threats to shut down infrastructure across Canada, flag-waving, drum-beating protesters marched Wednesday under the banner of the Idle No More movement as they set up blockades snarling traffic and halting trains across the country.
In Windsor, Ont., about 600 marchers — one of the largest of the protests — took to one of the city’s links to Detroit, the Ambassador Bridge, backing up commercial traffic beyond city limits.
The so-called national day of action created tension outside Edmonton where protesters blocked the main artery between the Alberta capital and Calgary. One driver in a large blue pickup truck slowly edged their way through the blockade as protesters jumped on the truck’s hood before finally letting the driver pass. No one was injured during the confrontation.
With minor exceptions, the protests were peaceful and went off without incident.
More than one chief who spoke out in Windsor, however, put the federal government on notice that, should it not heed the call to meet and discuss treaty rights with Canada’s indigenous leaders, protesters would return with much larger numbers. (Photo: John Woods; Robin Rowland/The Canadian Press)
Harper agrees to meet with First Nations leaders after weeks of protests
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has agreed to meet with aboriginal leaders on Jan. 11 to discuss their ongoing treaty concerns and to soothe rising tensions.
Earlier this week, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo asked Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston to meet with chiefs on Jan. 24 — the one-year anniversary of Harper’s summit in Ottawa with aboriginal leaders — to help end ongoing hunger strikes and address lingering treaty issues.
Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence has been on a hunger strike since Dec. 11 in hopes of forcing Harper into talks with aboriginal leaders. Spence said a late-January meeting was not satisfactory and demanded a meeting with the prime minister in the next 48 hours. (Geoff Robins, Cole Burston/The Canadian Press)
First Nation leaders to meet as Idle No More movement ‘becoming more volatile’
First Nations leaders are meeting today to clarify the demands of hunger-striker Chief Theresa Spence, in the hopes of getting closer to a resolution of recent unrest.
National Chief Shawn Atleo is meeting several key regional chiefs from the area surrounding Spence’s Attawapiskat reserve in northern Ontario.
Spence’s spokespeople said Wednesday in a written statement that the situation “is becoming more volatile” with each passing day that Prime Minister Stephen Harper doesn’t meet with Spence.
At the same time, Atleo has issued what he calls an urgent invitation to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston to meet chiefs on Jan. 24 _ the one-year anniversary of Harper’s summit with First Nations. (The Canadian Press)
Canada, First Nations headed in ‘dangerous direction’ as Idle No More hunger strike continues: Former PM Joe Clark
A visibly weak Chief Theresa Spence made a brief appearance on Sunday — in Day 20 of her fast — as a parade of politicians and protesters turned up the volume to demand action from the Harper government on treaty issues.
Through a spokesperson, the chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation said she was “deeply humbled” by the support she’s received from aboriginals and non-aboriginals in her appeal for a face-to-face meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor-General David Johnston.
“This is a call to arms and a call to action in the most peaceful and respective way that reflects our natural laws as Indigenous nations,” Spence said in the statement. (Robin Rowland, Fred Chartrand/The Canadian Press)