APTN

Support pours in for Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence



News that not only informs, but inspires.

By Annette Francis
APTN National News
In the light of the crescent moon the Sunrise Ceremony begins marking the start of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike Tuesday in Ottawa.

Spence is holding the hunger strike to force a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper or the Queen to have them respect treaty rights.

First Nation peoples across the country have expressed support for Spence, some deciding to fast for a day in solidarity. The Samson Cree Nation scheduled to hold an hour blockade of a highway in support Wednesday as well.

“I think that’s what keeps me going,” said Spence who is holding her hunger strike on Victoria Island that sits below Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court of Canada. “All the support and kind words and all the prayers I’m going to be doing, especially with this ceremony that happened this morning, it keeps me going.”

Jason Arbour was at the ceremony Tuesday to show his respect for Spence.

Arbour said Harper isn’t handling things properly.

“Again, he’s making legislation without any presence which is illegal and repugnant to English law. I believe he needs to sit down with the people and do things properly,” he said.

Ken Billings said legislation like Bill C-45 is concerning not only for First Nations, but all of Canadians.

“I think it’s a grave concern that our government is not listening to our voices and not respecting our rights and it’s come to this and if it doesn’t spark Canadians I don’t think nothing will,” said Billings. “This is our basic rights and clean water and food is everybody’s concern.”

Spence will be living in a teepee during her protest.

She’ll refuse food until her demands are met. Her last meal was an eight ounce steak and baked potatoes. She also said the housing crisis in her community, that made headlines around the world a year ago, remains unresolved.

But the parliamentary secretary of Aboriginal Affairs said it’s unfortunate that Spence has taken this measure of protest.

Greg Rickford said the department wrote Spence last week offering to visit Attawapiskat to ensure the community has what it needs as winter approaches.

“We’ve made repeated requests and offers including support to work with the community to help develop a long-term housing strategy and we’re waiting for that report, this is a governance issue and we hope that Chief Spence and her council put that housing strategy out to us,” said Rickford.

Spence will be monitored by the close eye of an elder. The RCMP isn’t too far away either.

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  • Guest

    Greg Rickford, are ya new?? This is about ALL the Aboriginal Nations in Canada that Chief Spence is doing this for. Don’t confuse the issues. She has obviously looked past your attempt to appease her in her home community for what it is. An attempt to keep her quiet. These things you are “offering” her and have had no response to are things you should just be doing. If you need to be told what to do and what’s right or wrong, THEN LISTEN!! We have been and are still trying to tell you!!

  • Lauralee Proudfoot

    When will this government grab a clue? Aboriginal people in Canada do not want or need things done FOR or TO them. We – nonAboriginal Canadians, and especially people like Mr. Rickford and Mr. Harper – need to learn to shut up and listen for a change…. it’s amazing how much one can learn.
    My apologies to Chief Spence and all the people of Attawapiskat (and all of the other under-resourced communities)… I am apalled that it has come to this.

  • PJ Butler

    Chief Spence, I support your hunger strike and will write to the PM and the Queen with copies to my MP and the Minister for AA to urge them to meet your demands. I applaud your courage.

  • Rob Daven

    Great idea, bad execution. If you really believe that Harper or her royal inbred bitch will do anything to help the native people, you are fooling yourself. The monarchy is directly responsible for the death of 50,000 native children in residential schools and NO ONE is saying shit about it. Stop asking the queen for shit and grow a pair and defend your land. It’s the only way anything is going to get done around here.

  • FAITH UP

    we want more than just a temporary bandaid that makes urself look good……it’s more than one community…and this Chief has my outmost respect……

  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.dostou Tom Dostou

    I worked for many years with the late Chief William Commanda who was guardian of our wampum belts … as a chief down here in the States I would like to pass around the news so that we can support Chief Spence in her hunger strike

  • disqus_ORXOCGGSRr

    If this what it will take….my prayers for our dear sister Theresa…things must change for our people..more Grandmothers and Women must stand up but we need the good men to also stand up and protect us..People must realize that the Queen is part of the bigger problem…why stay under the British Crown..can we not stand alone as Canadians…many other countries have done this like India..Remember the Great Law!!!