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Idle No More comes to Sioux Lookout

Thursday December 20, 2012
Geoff Shields/Special to Wawatay News
The Idle No More protest that has gained steam throughout Canada made its way to Sioux Lookout, where over 40 people showed up.

Over 40 First Nations people from Sioux Lookout and the surrounding areas braved the elements on a cold Dec. 15 to protest the federal government’s recently passed Bill C-45.

The Idle No More rally in Sioux Lookout was one of dozens of similar rallies across the country against the bill, which many protesters are calling an infringement of treaty rights.
Candace Kitchkeesick and Kelly Anderson organized the Sioux Lookout rally as a way to give the people of Sioux Lookout and surrounding area a chance to voice their opinions and needs.

“I think it will give them a strong point and I guess a gratification of unification of everybody coming together and standing for something,” Kitchkeesick said.

Kichkeesick and Anderson added that they were inspired by Attawapiskat Chief Teresa Spence’s ongoing hunger strike in Ottawa.

“(Spence) is going to continue doing her fast until she has a meeting (with the Prime Minister) or until she passes,” Kitchkeesick said. “Until she’s finished then we will finish what we are doing until our voices are heard.”

“I believe in this cause and what Chief Theresa Spence is doing in Ottawa,” Anderson added. “Although I cannot be with her at the Nations’ capital to stand with her, I am supporting her by doing fasting and collecting donations from people here to help her in Ottawa.”

The peaceful march started on Front Street with a blessing by traditional teacher Ralph Johnson of Seine River. After marching through Sioux Lookout, the protesters gathered at Centennial Park for blessings and a sharing circle.

During the circle, many people spoke of their fears of what will happen and how the government’s actions will effect future generations.

Some speakers also expressed indignation that Bill C-45 was passed behind closed doors without consultation with First Nations chiefs.

“Canada is going backwards, operating as a dictatorship rather than as a democratic society,” Johnson said. “It’s important to let them know that this shouldn’t go on in this day and age. Not just for us but for future generations who are coming up and should be able to enjoy the same environmental privileges we did when we grew up.”

Anderson and Kitchkeesick said they were impressed with the number of people who showed up for the rally.

“I didn’t realize it would blow up this much in just a short amount of time,” Kitchkeesick said, adding that a candlelight vigil is being planned for later in the week to continue supporting Spence’s hunger strike.

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