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Northern chiefs offer support for Spence's hunger strike

Thursday December 13, 2012
Teresa Spence started her hunger strike on Dec. 11.

Chiefs in northern Ontario are expressing their support for Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence as she embarks on a hunger strike in Ottawa.

Spence said she will not stop her hunger strike until the prime minister and a representative of Queen Elizabeth II agree to meet with First Nations leaders to involve them in the legislative process that affects First Nations across Canada. She said she is “willing to die” unless her demands are met.

Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief Stan Louttit said he and the seven other Mushkegowuk First Nations chiefs are united in their support of Spence. Mushkegowuk represents eight Cree communities in northeastern Ontario, including Attawapiskat.

Louttit said the communities signed Treaty 9 with the federal government in 1905 and 1906, and the Treaty recognized the continued usage of all Cree lands for hunting, fishing and trapping “as in the days of yore.” Yet the Harper government is in the process of passing Bill C-45, an omnibus bill that includes changes to the Indian Act and legislation affecting water and fisheries, areas which impact First Nations’ ability to exercise treaty rights, Louttit said.

“Canada continues to ignore the treaties as well as the provisions of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both of which have been endorsed by Canada,” Louttit said in a Dec. 13 media release. “Canada’s actions are unfair, paternalistic and extremely disrespectful of First Nations.

“This is why you will continue to see actions taken by First Nations leaders such as Chief Spence and others who are sick and tired of unilateral actions and decision making by government on matters that directly impact their people and communities.”

Grand Council Treaty #3, which represents 26 communities in northwestern Ontario and two in Manitoba, also acknowledged and announced support for the efforts of Spence.

Grand Chief Warren White said he and several chiefs met with Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan and Kenora MP Greg Rickford in August, where they wanted to establish a treaty table in an attempt to “reconcile outstanding treaty relationship issues.”

“Since then, there has been no response or willingness to engage on these matters which we consider to be of great importance,” White said in a statement.

“It is shameful that in order to get the attention of the federal government to deal honourably with outstanding issues…(Spence) is compelled to go on a hunger strike.”
Community members are also calling on for support for Spence.

Jingle dress dancers from Naotkamegwanning (Whitefish Bay), a Treat # 3 community, will be traveling to Ottawa to “dance the sacred jingle dress gifted to them” in support of Spence.

Rhonda and Jocelyn White are calling on other jingle dress dancers to join them at Victoria Island on Dec. 15 to perform the dance ceremony.

“The Sacred Jingle Dress Dance at Victoria Island will be an expression of the true meaning of the jingle dress, by dancing for healing for Ogimaa-kaan Spence and the healing of all Indigenous people at this time,” they said in a statement.

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Theresa Spence went against

Theresa Spence went against the wishes of her Council, thus no support from Attawapiskat for this stunt. If other northern chiefs show support, why don't they go freeze their asses off on the Nations capital, I sure as as hell won't.

Mr. Hookimaw, what this chief

Mr. Hookimaw, what this chief is doing is a very positive step in the right direction. She fought hard and fought against all the criticism and verbal abuse by the conservatives when she brought forth the issue with the housing crisis within that community. Where was her council then? They weren't uinvovled and didn't make themselves known. It was all about getting the best for her community. She fulfilled her obligations during and throughout that crisis. Just as she was a fighter for her community, she's a fighter for all aboriginals within Canada and around the world.
My question to you is this, Where is her council now?
They don't support her now with her fight for all aboriginals in Canada, they probably didn't support her during the housing crisis her community faced.
Support her or not, she's a gerat example of what a true lady is, a fighter!

I really wanted to join in on

I really wanted to join in on the hunger strike myself, to fight for our Aboriginal future leaders meaning the Education, also to fight for our health benefits, for our people. But I was told to stand down, but I am determine to stand side by side with Chief Theresa Spence. If my demands are not reached, I will walk from Thunder Bay to Ottawa, with The Indian Act in my left hand, my feather in the right, my hand drum on my back. I know what Chief Theresa Spence is doing will be a great change. I STRONGLY SUPPORT HER!!! If I am unable to go to Ottawa, I will starve here in Thunder Bay for my people, our leaders of tomorrow. I been trying to do this four-five days ago. I hope she will make great change. <3 Love and Respect.

I am not sure that I agree

I am not sure that I agree with the hunger strike, but the people of Northern Ontario deserve clean water, mould free and warm structures in which to live...and Stephen Harper needs to step up and do his job.

We are aware of the reasons

We are aware of the reasons for this hunger strike...the fact is this model of approach a good example for our youth...when suicide has been among one of the greatest tragedies in our communities?

Thank you! my comment is that

Thank you! my comment is that all anadians are being shut down on all levels! we need to stand behind Theresa for leading us. I cant drink my well water either! & I dont live on a reserve!

while letetrs of support on

while letetrs of support on facebook, youtube, twitter and any other form of media flock in support for Theresa Spence, why aren't other leaders doing the same in support of her endeavours. i think it's quite sad to see that a lady as her needs to start a thing like this without the full support of leaders everywhere. Atleo, and other leaders need to get out in the cold and do what this lady is doing, instead of sitting in an office that provides commfort and luxury. in the end, I do hope that chief Spence gets the meeting with the Prime Minister. And when she does, I don't expect to see leaders jumping in to be a part of it. Take a good look at the outcome when it comes. You'll see every leader wanting to get in there and give a few words. Theresa Spence deserves the meeting and nobody else.

I am convinced more than ever

I am convinced more than ever - pooh pooh to those Nish who voted for the Conservatives in the last election. These guys don't speak from the heart and yet they have the gall to hide their faces behind words like the so called Statement of Apology. If the Statement is have greater meaning, these guys wouldn't treat the Nish people the way they do. The apoloy of of 2008 is empty rhetoric and spoken only as political convenience for the Conservative party. Shame on the Harper regime. How can a nish person with any conscience support these monsters?

Where are all the big,

Where are all the big, well-known , in the spotlight leaders. Yes, they alwys make speeches about how we are being treated and say they say they agree, but what are they doing. Sitting very comfortably and waiting for the others to get it done, then jump back into the spotlight. Where are all our fearless leaders with all their wisdom, sharing, and caring for one another. Don't follow the big-time leaders. Keep praying for Chief Spence.

You're right - where are our

You're right - where are our the fearless leaders when we want them to lead. Remember the scene outside the House of Commons a few weeks ago? I saw Chiefs Patrick Madabee, Isadore Day, Derek Nepinak and others. I did NOT see Shawn Atleo, Stan Beardy or Harvey Yesno standing in the frontline for the people.
The "Idle No More" movement is a powerful grassroots movement. It a thunderous voice of the people and our own so-called fearless leaders also need to wake up to the call and listen to what the people are truly saying.

All of our leaders should

All of our leaders should bring this message to the world;
To all countries abroad,
Stephen Harper and the Conservative Government are not to be trusted. He doesn’t take care of his own country and the first peoples of Canada.
Why do you think he cares about you and your country and beliefs?

How fast would the Conservative Government move when they hear this being spread about in the news for all countries to see.

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