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Attawapiskat chief launches hunger strike to force treaty meeting with PM, Queen



Attawapiskat chief launches hunger strike to force treaty meeting with PM, Queen

APTN National News
OTTAWA–Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence plans to begin a hunger strike in Ottawa this week and continue until Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Queen agree to a treaty meeting with First Nations in Canada or she meets her “ancestors.”

Spence was supposed to begin her hunger strike in Ottawa Monday morning but weather delayed her flight into the city from Toronto. Spence arrived in the city at about 11 a.m. and she planned to hold a press conference later in the day. She was also scheduled to have a conference call with former AFN candidate Pam Palmater and members from the Idle No More campaign, which also kicked off Monday.

Spence plans to begin her hunger strike on Tuesday morning.

Spence said in an open-letter she wouldn’t end her hunger strike until Harper and Queen Elizabeth II or one of her representatives agreed to the treaty meeting.

“I will return to my traditional territory after such a meeting is held, or return to spend time with my ancestors in the traditional lands of my people,” said Spence, in an open letter released early Monday morning.

In the open letter, Spence said she decided to go on a hunger strike after “months” of consideration and meetings with elders.

“After a long period of reflection, the time is at hand for a clear statement,” said Spence.

Spence said the Canadian government was trying to “isolate” and “assimilate” First Nations people.

“This process of marginalizing our political leadership, along with the enforced segregation of our people is part of a deliberate (attempt) to isolate our people, marginalize our people and ultimately assimilate our people so that our rich heritage can be wiped out and the great bounty contained in our traditional lands be made available for exploitation by large multi-national companies,” said Spence.

Spence plans to spend her days during the hunger strike on Parliament Hill and her evenings on nearby Victoria Island where she will sleep inside a cabin there.

The Attawapiskat chief will be meeting with Assembly of First Nations officials before beginning her hunger strike. The AFN is helping her with her protest, said Danny Metatawbin, from Attawapiskat. An AFN spokeswoman said Spence’s hunger strike was “a personal initiative.”

Spence’s community of Attawapiskat burst onto the national consciousness last fall after images of the community’s deplorable housing flashed across the country’s television screens.

The Harper government, however, attacked the community, blaming the band for its housing situation. Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan took away the band’s control over its finances and imposed a third-party manager.

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  • http://twitter.com/capebretoners Leanne Flynn

    Proud bold woman. I wish I had written more often to her. Hope she has lots of support around Ottawa for this proud protest. All hail Chief Spence! Lots of warm drinks for Chief Spence. Some warm broths, herbal teas, hot chocolate, and warm company for her! Watching for news of this protest on our tv, radio and internet news. Attawapiskat people should have had military, red cross, and construction service support. Their emergency situation was discussed in Ottawa over a year ago. I really like her demand doe a meeting with a Queen’s representative and Steven Harper- nothing unreasonable about that demand. Show us a healing protest Chief Spence. Wish I was in Ottawa today to meet this woman.

  • Guest

    This signature was used to give up interest or ownership in the lands in question in 1908 which had already been confiscated by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) when it purchased all of the shares in the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) which had been trading furs with the Indians on lands known as Rupertsland and the North West Territory. How and when was this accomplished? It was completed prior to 1870, or 38 years earlier, but because of the Red River Rebellion the deal was not official until 1870 and three (3) years after the adoption of the British North America Act (BNA Act) (which is now called the Canadian Constitution of 1867 and 1982.) The Royal Proclamation of 1763 (Proclamation) was a prohibition of anyone to purchase Indian lands or otherwise to gain control of such lands and only the British Government was allowed to do this. However, there was a big exception and that was in the lands and waters flowing into Hudson Bay or Rupertsland and the North West Territory. The Proclamation applied to all of North America except to the lands granted to the HBC in 1670! Lands which the HBC was granted the monopoly to trade but not to acquire the lands of the people they were trading with. There is no record of Great Britain buying or otherwise obtaining the lands in question and there is no record of the HBC acquiring the lands of the Indians prior to 1870! So, the parties involved in this major land swindle (Canada calls it the largest land sale in America!) and which was against the BNA Act at section 91(24) which also triggered section 53 of the same British legislation. This action by Great Britain actually moved Indians from the citizenship section of section 92 before moving them to section 91. Section 92 provides for the Canadians the right to vote for the federal government, the provincial government, and the municipal and school boards in Canada. The removal of Indians from this section also removed their right to vote for members of parliament, members of the legislatures, municipal councils and school boards throughout Canada. This fact is virtually unknown by the Canadian legal system including the Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada. Removing Indians from the right to vote via the Constitution cannot be remedied by subsequent legislation such as the Elections Acts of the provinces and the federal government. The Constitution must be amended first and it has not been amended to date. The attempt to give Indians the “right to vote” for “democratic reason” may not be for democratic reasons but to enable Canada and provinces to impose taxation upon a people who cannot vote for their MP’s, MLA’s, City Councils and School Boards contrary to another section of the Constitution which is section 53. Section 53 is a USA “Boston Tea Party” ruling which provides for “No taxation without representation”, so Indians who cannot vote are also exempt from all taxation including import duties and all hidden taxes while in Canada. So, the reason for the foregoing discussion is to demonstrate Great Britain and Canada acquired a BNA Act “duty” or Constitutional Act “obligation” towards Indians in 1867 as per section 91(24). Some argue that transferring Indians from section 92 to 91 created a Trust Obligation to Great Britain and its successors, the Dominion of Canada and Canada. Therefore, the interest of the Indians as per section 91(24) and the Proclamation was already operational when Great Britain, the Dominion of Canada, and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) owned HBC formed a conspiracy to keep Indians from the benefits of their lands and resources and this conspiracy carried over to the making of the Eleven Treaties regarding the lands of Rupertsland and the North West Territories. The first of the Eleven Treaties was signed at Lower Fort Gary in 1871 and there were no lawyers, financial planners, legal interpreters, business persons to insure the Indians were provided with lands to not only sustain individuals and families but communities of Indians now known as Indian Bands or First Nation Governments in Canada. There were no experts or advisors provided to the Indians to insure their immediate and long term needs were recognized and affirmed by Great Britain and the Dominion of Canada. This oversight has carried over to the present day and has resulted in the “extreme poverty” of individuals and families of Indians. Needless to say, the communities or Indian Bands or First Nations government are also in “extreme poverty” living off a department of the federal government set up for Indians and lands reserved for the Indians. When Great Britain decided to remove Indians from section 92 and relocate them under section 91 of the BNA Act, they were also to take the services they were to receive as section 92 citizens as per provincial, municipal and school boards. But, this was actually not done in spite of the Treaty Promise in Treaty No. 8 Report which stated:

    We assured them that the treaty would not lead to any forced interference with their mode of life, that it did not open the
    way to the imposition of any tax, and that there was no fear of enforced military service. (p3)
    Indeed, the Indians were generally averse to being placed on reserves. It would have been impossible to have made a treaty if
    we had not assured them that there was no intention of confining them to reserves. We had to very clearly explain to them
    that the provision for reserves and allotments of land were made for their protection, and to secure to them in perpetuity a
    fair portion of the land ceded, in the event of settlement advancing.

    So, this section actually states the government of Great Britain and Canada guarantees Indians and Indian Bands: “… and to secure to them in perpetuity a fair portion of the land ceded, in the event of settlement advancing. So, Indians and Indian Bands can secure a fair portion of the land ceded for social and economic sustainability, which is common sense and also in view of the lands being held by Canada as an Indian reserve. This is critical because an Indian Band with a land base restricted to 160 acres for a family of five cannot sustain many individuals, families and especially Indian Bands or First Nations Governments. This promise by Great Britain and the Dominion of Canada and Canada has got to be a real Treaty Benefit at this time in history where Indian must earn royalties and a share of their natural resources.

    Christopher J. McLeod (Kitchikesik and a work in progress
    This is to let her know that she is contacting the right people, Great Britain but to know they have a conflict of interest.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mcleodenator Christopher McLeod

    This signature was used to give up interest or ownership in the lands in question in 1908 which had already been confiscated by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) when it purchased all of the shares in the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) which had been trading furs with the Indians on lands known as Rupertsland and the North West Territory. How and when was this accomplished? It was completed prior to 1870, or 38 years earlier, but because of the Red River Rebellion the deal was not official until 1870 and three (3) years after the adoption of the British North America Act (BNA Act) (which is now called the Canadian Constitution of 1867 and 1982.) The Royal Proclamation of 1763 (Proclamation) was a prohibition of anyone to purchase Indian lands or otherwise to gain control of such lands and only the British Government was allowed to do this. However, there was a big exception and that was in the lands and waters flowing into Hudson Bay or Rupertsland and the North West Territory. The Proclamation applied to all of North America except to the lands granted to the HBC in 1670! Lands which the HBC was granted the monopoly to trade but not to acquire the lands of the people they were trading with. There is no record of Great Britain buying or otherwise obtaining the lands in question and there is no record of the HBC acquiring the lands of the Indians prior to 1870! So, the parties involved in this major land swindle (Canada calls it the largest land sale in America!) and which was against the BNA Act at section 91(24) which also triggered section 53 of the same British legislation. This action by Great Britain actually moved Indians from the citizenship section of section 92 before moving them to section 91. Section 92 provides for the Canadians the right to vote for the federal government, the provincial government, and the municipal and school boards in Canada. The removal of Indians from this section also removed their right to vote for members of parliament, members of the legislatures, municipal councils and school boards throughout Canada. This fact is virtually unknown by the Canadian legal system including the Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada. Removing Indians from the right to vote via the Constitution cannot be remedied by subsequent legislation such as the Elections Acts of the provinces and the federal government. The Constitution must be amended first and it has not been amended to date. The attempt to give Indians the “right to vote” for “democratic reason” may not be for democratic reasons but to enable Canada and provinces to impose taxation upon a people who cannot vote for their MP’s, MLA’s, City Councils and School Boards contrary to another section of the Constitution which is section 53. Section 53 is a USA “Boston Tea Party” ruling which provides for “No taxation without representation”, so Indians who cannot vote are also exempt from all taxation including import duties and all hidden taxes while in Canada. So, the reason for the foregoing discussion is to demonstrate Great Britain and Canada acquired a BNA Act “duty” or Constitutional Act “obligation” towards Indians in 1867 as per section 91(24). Some argue that transferring Indians from section 92 to 91 created a Trust Obligation to Great Britain and its successors, the Dominion of Canada and Canada. Therefore, the interest of the Indians as per section 91(24) and the Proclamation was already operational when Great Britain, the Dominion of Canada, and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) owned HBC formed a conspiracy to keep Indians from the benefits of their lands and resources and this conspiracy carried over to the making of the Eleven Treaties regarding the lands of Rupertsland and the North West Territories. The first of the Eleven Treaties was signed at Lower Fort Gary in 1871 and there were no lawyers, financial planners, legal interpreters, business persons to insure the Indians were provided with lands to not only sustain individuals and families but communities of Indians now known as Indian Bands or First Nation Governments in Canada. There were no experts or advisors provided to the Indians to insure their immediate and long term needs were recognized and affirmed by Great Britain and the Dominion of Canada. This oversight has carried over to the present day and has resulted in the “extreme poverty” of individuals and families of Indians. Needless to say, the communities or Indian Bands or First Nations government are also in “extreme poverty” living off a department of the federal government set up for Indians and lands reserved for the Indians. When Great Britain decided to remove Indians from section 92 and relocate them under section 91 of the BNA Act, they were also to take the services they were to receive as section 92 citizens as per provincial, municipal and school boards. But, this was actually not done in spite of the Treaty Promise in Treaty No. 8 Report which stated:

    We assured them that the treaty would not lead to any forced interference with their mode of life, that it did not open the
    way to the imposition of any tax, and that there was no fear of enforced military service. (p3)
    Indeed, the Indians were generally averse to being placed on reserves. It would have been impossible to have made a treaty if
    we had not assured them that there was no intention of confining them to reserves. We had to very clearly explain to them
    that the provision for reserves and allotments of land were made for their protection, and to secure to them in perpetuity a
    fair portion of the land ceded, in the event of settlement advancing.

    So, this section actually states the government of Great Britain and Canada guarantees Indians and Indian Bands: “… and to secure to them in perpetuity a fair portion of the land ceded, in the event of settlement advancing. So, Indians and Indian Bands can secure a fair portion of the land ceded for social and economic sustainability, which is common sense and also in view of the lands being held by Canada as an Indian reserve. This is critical because an Indian Band with a land base restricted to 160 acres for a family of five cannot sustain many individuals, families and especially Indian Bands or First Nations Governments. This promise by Great Britain and the Dominion of Canada and Canada has got to be a real Treaty Benefit at this time in history where Indian must earn royalties and a share of their natural resources.

  • disqus_ORXOCGGSRr

    Dear Chief Theresa Spence….you are doing the right thing…the women, the Grandmothers must stand up….I am a Metis women and I have been on many reserves here in BC and it is deplorable the conditions people are living in…and this is only a couple of hours from the city of Vancouver.

    Our people have suffered too long….it is the time of change…our women’s voices must be heard.

    We are a nation that was always matriarchal….look at the Great Law it was half woman and half men……before the Europeans came to North America…

    I will pray, eat and drink for you sister..and let other brothers and sisters know what you are doing for your people all the people.

    Creator and the ancestors are watching over you!
    A brave warrior!
    A Ho
    Osawuskiskwew

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=510154447 Chris Biggar

    oh common Harper you crook, give people some justice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rheal.gagne Rheal L. Gagne

    A very Honourable Lady..You have my respect ans I salute you..

  • Edos

    Let’s see if I understand this correctly. Chief Theresa Spence of Attiwapiskat First Nation goes on a hunger strike today to protest living conditions for her people and not a peep about it on the CBC story board. Apparently a monkey that escaped from Ikea is of greater significance to Canadians according to CBC story editors. Sad, sad, day and explains perfectly Chief Spence’s hunger strike.

  • Ray

    From what I see, this woman is part of the problem.

  • April Maloney

    That is one CLEAR message. I hope that the Chief is not forced to walk through the door to meet her ancestors. That would be one door that the government wouldn’t want to see open. Once opened, good luck closing it Mr. Harper.