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Rail blockades, marches, highway shutdowns planned for Wednesday



Rail blockades, marches, highway shutdowns planned for Wednesday

(Former Roseau River chief Terrance Nelson. APTN/File Photo)

By Jorge Barrera and Kenneth Jackson
APTN National News
The CP and CN rail lines in Manitoba will be targeted for blockades on Wednesday, says former Roseau River chief Terrance Nelson.

Blockades and marches in several provinces are also planned for the same day.

Nelson said a “small group” of people will be launching the rail blockades and they will wait to “let people react to it.”

Nelson said the only way to get Prime Minister Stephen Harper to listen is to force him to negotiate with blockades in place.

“This isn’t a round dance, this will have consequences,” said Nelson. “It will block everything going east and west.”

Nelson wouldn’t disclose what locations would be chosen for Wednesday’s action. He said the blockades are not being launched under the Idle No More banner.

Idle No More’s founders and organizers have distanced themselves from plans to launch blockades in several provinces on Wednesday.

Harper met with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and a handful of First Nations leaders Friday. The meeting was hotly opposed by many chiefs who had urged Atleo not to go.

Atleo has since announced he was taking an about week-long leave on doctor’s orders. The national chief is suffering from the after-effects of a bout with norovirus, according to the AFN.

Several actions are also planned for Ontario, Saskatchewan and New Brunswick.

There are plans to block the Ambassador Bridge which links Windsor, Ont., to Detroit, Mich., for about an hour and a half.

Ron Plain, from Aamjiwnaang First Nation, said the truck traffic will be targeted by the temporary blockade.

“Every effort will be made to minimize the inconvenience to the car traffic of the bridge,” said Plain, who was the spokesman for a rail blockade in Sarnia, Ont., which lasted from Dec. 21, 2012, to Jan. 2. “Our focus is on the truck traffic and educating all to the reasons behind Idle No More. This is for all Canadians and their future generations as it is ours.”

The planned “Unity Walk” will travel to the border entrance of the Ambassador Bridge, according to a release from the London District Chiefs Council.

“We are uniting our people to send a clear message to the prime minister and the government of Canada that the time has come to implement the treaty promises,” said Delaware Nation at Moraviantown Chief Greg Peters, who is also chair of the district chiefs council.

A northern portion of the Trans-Canada Highway near Nipigon, Ont., will also be shut down for about three hours as a result of a march by people from about 30 northern Ontario First Nations.

“Harper is lying, he is not going to follow through with what he said (after the meeting),” said Neskantaga First Nation Chief Peter Moonias. “Harper made that statement to recognize the treaty rights issue because he was under pressure by the public…I kind of feel he is not going to do anything about it like the last time, that is why we have to go continue with the protests until we get solid in writing that this is what is going to happen, this time, when and how.”

In Akwesasne, there are also plans to again shut down the Canada-U.S. border crossing.

In New Brunswick plans are in the works to organize a march to the Centennial Bridge in Miramichi and possibly block it.

The Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, which represents the interests of off-reserve status, non-status and Metis people, issued a statement Monday saying letters had been sent to major Canadian police forces, including the RCMP and the Surete du Quebec, urging them to heed the “lessons learned” from the 1995 Ipperwash crisis in Ontario that left Dudley George dead from an OPP bullet.

“The letter points out that if complaints are given to police about threats of violence against peaceful protesters, they have a duty to fully investigate and prosecute offenders,” said CAP vice-Chief Ron Swain. “True warriors protect the weak, and I ask our young people to not let frustration lead to unnecessary violence…The prime minister, every provincial premier and our law enforcement officials have an obligation to follow the rule of law. We need to remain calm. In time, I know, that our treaties and Aboriginal rights will be honoured.”

Grand Chief Gordon Peters of the Association of Iroquois and Allied Indians told reporters last Friday that economic disruptions were in the works for Wednesday.

“We can’t live in poverty anymore while Canadians live this great life,” said Peters, whose organization is based in Ontario.

“We’ll stop it the only way we can stop it…Stop the roads, stop the rails, stop the transportation of goods.”

Onion Lake Cree Nation Chief Wallace Fox said during a chiefs’ meeting Thursday night that economic disruptions loomed.

“No longer will the prime minister dictate to us. If we have to shut down this economy, then we will,” said Fox, whose community is part of Treaty 6 in Saskatchewan.

Several First Nations chiefs have been discussing plans to launch blockades on Wednesday since at least Dec. 28, 2012.

“January 16 is being touted as a national day of action directed at industry, the economy and the government,” according to minutes obtained by APTN National News from a Dec. 28 teleconference meeting between dozens of chiefs.

According to the minutes, blockades were being planned for “major roadways, rail lines.”

Railway blockades have already hit in Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

In 2007, Nelson also called for blockades on a National Day of Action planned for June 29. He called off the rail blockades after he struck a deal with former Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jim Prentice.

Only the Mohawks from Tyendinaga launched any action on that day, blocking Ontario’s Hwy 401 and the main CN rail line between Toronto and Montreal.

Nelson has since said he regretted making the deal.

jbarrera@aptn.ca

@JorgeBarrera

kjackson@aptn.ca

@afixedaddress

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  • http://www.texelc.blogspot.com/ Arnie Jack

    Regarding the Two Serpent Prophesy, Indigenous and Non – Indigenous now need to find a way to peacefully shut down Chief Stephen Harper and his fat cat Ottawapiskat Reserve, the obvious heart of the beast!

    • http://profiles.google.com/sundog61 Matt D

      Harper was elected so he won’t be shut down. Try working will people instead of childishly vilifying them.

  • Jeff Winnipeg

    I think the rest of Canadians who were also born in Canada should stop working so that the government can’t give any money. Then a statement would be made that we live in nice houses and drive nice cars because we go to work, get bank loans and pay for them. The Idle no more movement should be for the hard working Canadians who are sick of being taken advantage of by those who believe a wonderful life should be given to them. I call it SILENT NO MORE and urge other hard working Canadians to speak up and say what you think about it.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1432147774 Kathryn McLean

      exactly….what about the ‘Canadians’ that live in poor housing…go to run down schools and etc etc. I was born here. I think more Indians (council) should pay attention to their roots and not the government hand outs. I would like to see the able Canadians on welfare do the same thing. What the heck…can’t we all just get along. How many families that did nothing to these people are they hurting? How many non Indians respect what the history of Indians represent. Someone shared a gem of a Chief…Clarence Louis from BC. We Canadians if you want to really cut hairs have been forced into traumatic situations and have had hardships too and not by our choice and we have to carry on….and suck it up and cope..and and and and…it is time to take responsibility for your own…since having a separate Status is so important….no place for blame…no more! You are status I am not…WE are h u m a n…of the stars and the land….Indians don’t want to be ‘Canadianized’ but they want better education and better this and that….because Canadians lead such a great life…well plenty of us Canadians bloody earned it and have the scars to show it. Embrace..don’t fight and really ask yourself what are you standing in the middle of the tracks for?

      • Reid Gilker

        Truly unbelievable Kathryn how ignorant stupid and uneducated some people are, yes I am speaking about you. I will tell you what little girl, lets put that shoe on the other foot for a minute. and put you into the scenario The First nations of this land have had to endure,, what do you say, we go to your house sitting on your land and make you a big empty promise that we will use all of the land around your house to live on and move in others and use your property to mine, pillage and take all of what might be of worth, found in it, and we will live in friendship and harmony and both prosper as we will both profit from these finds that came from your land, then after come back and move you into a corner of that basement of that house because, really we have no respect for you and we need more room for people and land and resources, while still not sharing any of what was yours to begin with, with you.

        Then to add insult to injury, we go into that basement of your house and grab your young children by the hair and drag them out of there in front of you, with nothing you can do about it, then take your children off to a school located hundreds of miles away, where you have no idea where they are and cut their hair in a style that we like, and dress them in a way that you as a mother wouldn’t and then make them speak a language they don’t understand and when they refuse or show any resistance to this, we beat, torture and if need be kill them so they will no longer be a bother to us. and when the day comes that you come to look for them ,we tell you that they had just ran away one day, we don’t know where they went. and from then on things just got worse because of the way we treated you and your family and this continues right up until modern days as we continue to destroy everything in sight to the point that now it is very possible the entire country could face an environmental disaster’s over it, with the real possibility of having nothing left for anyone else that could possibly come after us. And you say (((SUCK IT UP ???))) Are you Sure these are the appropriate words you want to use concerning this Kathryn!!! And just to educate you a little bit these things really did happen to the First Nations people of this land, and this is only one part of the story the First Nations have endured on Their land .. HAND OUTS! Are you sure it is handouts they are asking for! You most seriously need to go back and read the real history of this country, and not from some government published text book you assume to be the truth of it. People who open their mouth to air their views on something like this that have absolutely no idea what they are talking about make me Sick! Educate your azz before speaking!! its just that simple!

        • http://profiles.google.com/sundog61 Matt D

          Guess which PM gave a official apology for the atrocities of the past? Correct Harper. Don’t let the marxist Harper hating lefties hijack Native concerns-you need to work with this PM.

          • Reid Gilker

            This PM need’s to “Honestly and Sincerely” work with the First Nations of this land, instead of making empty apologies for the residential schools, and then attempting to commit racial genocide on the First peoples of this land less than a year later by thinking up such bills as C-45 and the other 14 or so that he and his clan have already pushed threw the senate. This is what need’s to be done!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charlton-Budd/630655415 Charlton Budd

        …and and and and. Exactly what kind of drivel is that. My wish is I can someday read another comment of yours and not get a splitting headache because I’m reading some childish and ignorant posting. Ouch!

    • Reid Gilker

      I’ll tell you what I think about it Jeff from Winnipeg , your a Moron that obviously doesn’t know if his azz is punched or bored, If you want to deal with the actual facts of what your first cousin Stephen Harper is willfully doing to this country, then we can have a logical discussion, as to the ‘real’ risk to the future that this country faces, as well as the future of your and our families and precious job included. As if you were the only one who has ever worked in this country, what kind of pompous bull shit is that! Until you are prepared to have a logical serious discussion people of your obviously supreme and outstanding structure should keep your ignorant uneducated mouths closed. THAT’S WHAT I THINK!

      • http://profiles.google.com/sundog61 Matt D

        Wow Reid a sure fire way of starting a “logical” discussion is to call someone a moron. Jeff represents a sentiment shared by many non-natives. We work our butts off but we feel natives think everything has been handed to us by some divine right. Threatening economic terrorism affects our livelihoods and thus the tax dollars many reserves depend on. Please tell me what would happen to Attawapiskat if the non-native tax dollars dried up? Doubt Chief Spence would be rolling in that Escalade!

    • http://twitter.com/BeezySarah Sarah_Beezy

      What exactly are you really trying to say, Jeff?

  • http://www.facebook.com/baedward Bernice Edward

    As a BC First Nations person I support Idle No More Rallies but I do not support any type of Blockades !!!

    • http://profiles.google.com/sundog61 Matt D

      I fully support the rights of Natives to protest but not to blockade. Let’s hope this comes to a positive solution. Throwing money at this will not fix anything.

      • Reid Gilker

        Some times it actually takes blockades to drive the point home to the government so they can and will realise, that people are taking the governments will which it has imposed on them very seriously. Some see a blockade and think it was put there because of them, even thou it may cause a temporary interruption to them in their daily lives, this is not an accurate assessment of why it was put there. it all has to do with understanding.

  • David

    Yeh uh speaking as a Canadian, I would just like to apologize for the “suck it up” “get a job” et inflammatory cetera comments.

    Don’t be too angry with them or all Canadians, they don’t represent the majority of us.

    I think in their defense, they just don’t understand what the real history is, nor (like most people) do they accept any responsibility for the actions of their/our ancestors.

    I think the older you get the more you realize that you can’t personally benefit from an oppressive act your grandfather engaged in, and then say “wasn’t me”. Because while that’s technically true, the act of benefiting from it, makes us an accomplice in the act.

    But most Canadians quietly do know that if our ancestors oppressed Aboriginals/Indians and the like and didn’t legally and fairly procure the land and rights from your ancestors, (And mistreated them in certain instances) then where that happened, we are obliged to make it right, and I believe that most Canadians support that outcome. Maybe quietly at this time, but I assure you it’s how most Canadians I know feel.

    To put it bluntly, Harper is being an asshat,

    He’s not just content to sell your and our resources off to foreign investors, which is imo a borderline treasonous act that does not benefit Canadians or Aboriginals one iota and I cannot understand why we’re all just taking it..

    But, he’s now apparently intent on taking Canada’s good name and reputation (earned by previous governments )and flushing it down the loo by forcing a confrontation that’s only going to wind up airing Canada’s seedier darker history.

    I don’t think we were as bad as I’ve seen some Aboriginals state, by tie’ing together disparate events by separate entities/local governments and individual people and making it seem like an orchestrated national Canadian plan to destroy Indians, but I do think that where we did wrong, we have to make it right.

    And I think we will eventually make it right.

    Problem is Harper does not represent most Canadians view on this subject, so we may have to wait for a less destructive leader.

    or his advisers may be able to get through to him, that all he’s going to accomplish by fighting this out, is dirtying Canada’s name on the world stage, and in the end, Canadians are going to force him to comply anyway, because down deep we know we need to make this right.

    Here’s hoping our government figures it all out sooner rather than later.

    • Reid Gilker

      You are right in what you say, and I personally believe that the majority of First Nations people will also agree with your view on this. As in any race not all will agree, but this is to be expected, and living within a free country everyone is entitled to their opinion, even thou some will not appreciate that opinion from time to time. This was why wars were fought by both Canadian’s and First Nations members standing side by side so many years ago. In this Idle No More Movement many Canadians as well as First nations members are involved, as we both know and realise that this governments actions are in reality effecting all who live in Canada and as of late, and not in a good way for anyone.

      once again thank you for your views on this, it is nice to see an opinion that actually has basis to it, instead of the racist ones I have viewed only too many times concerning this subject.

      You are right in what you say, and I personally believe that the majority of First Nations people will also agree with your view on this. As in any race not all will agree, but this is to be expected, and living within a free country everyone is entitled to their opinion, even thou some will not appreciate that opinion from time to time. This was why wars were fought by both Canadian’s and First Nations members standing side by side so many years ago. In this Idle No More Movement many Canadians as well as First nations members are involved, as we both know and realise that this governments actions are in reality effecting all who live in Canada and as of late, and not in a good way for anyone.

      once again thank you for your views on this, it is nice to see an opinion that actually has basis to it, instead of the racist ones I have viewed only too many times concerning this subject.

  • Guest

    I know that we need to get information to all Canadians on this issue and unfortunately this means that “stirring” things up with possible blockades is only way. At least, slowing traffic to give them information. No one wants or likes blockades, etc. but how long do we have to continue to wait to be heard? Sorry that these actions inconveniences the average Canadian, but we’ve been incovenienced for hundreds of years.