Chief Spence Commended for Ending Hunger Strike

Chief Theresa Spence speaks from her vigil in her tee pee on Victoria Island near the House of CommonsChief Theresa Spence speaks from her vigil in her tee pee on Victoria Island near the House of Commons
Former Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence
First Nations Leaders at Victoria Island January 4 2013
First Nations Leaders at Victoria Island

THUNDER BAY – Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee commends Chief Theresa Spence and Elders Raymond Robinson and Jean Sock for their valiant efforts to bring attention to the broken treaty relationship between the Crown and First Nations. Chief Spence ended her fast after 44 days in a teepee on Victoria Island, just upstream from Parliament Hill.

Support for the efforts of Chief Spence are coming in from many sides. Chief Spence is now in hospital, on an IV, and getting examined by medical staff to access her condition. “We applaud the efforts of the hunger strikers and their helpers; they brought awareness to our issues on a global level,” says Madahbee. In 2010 the Harper government made Canada a signatory to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Chief Theresa Spence Honoured

Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), Attawapiskat First Nation and Mushkegowuk Council have gathered in Ottawa to honour Chief Theresa Spence.

The agreement to end the hunger strikes was brought together by the AFN, First Nations Leader, political leaders, and leaders from Attawapiskat as well.

NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said, “Today’s Declaration calls for action on important issues such as improving housing and schools on reserves, respecting treaty and non-treaty rights, and rethinking our approach to resource development, all of which must be part of the federal government`s dialogue with First Nations”.

“Now is the time to begin a new relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples to replace today`s broken relationship.  We need to act now and help realize the potential that exists within dynamic young First Nation communities. We cannot continue down the current path and alienate another generation of aboriginal peoples. Canada is stronger when we choose to work together,” concluded the NDP Leader.

Liberal Leader Bob Rae states, “I am encouraged that Chief Theresa Spence has decided to end her hunger strike. Chief Spence and those who have joined her fast have helped bring about substantial change, but their cause – however just – should not endanger their lives or their health. Liberals join with Canadians across the country who are deeply committed to carrying on the fight for justice, dignity and reconciliation, and we salute Chief Spence’s courage”.

“The commitments we are making flow logically from the work of the Charlottetown and Kelowna Accords”, Rae continued. “Numerous Supreme Court of Canada decisions, and our commitments as a country made when we signed the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. They represent the strongly held values of the Liberal Party of Canada”.

“The declaration states Indigenous people have the right to participate in decision‐making in matters which would affect our rights,” stated the Grand Council Chief. “First Nations were never consulted with on Bill C‐45, the Omnibus bill…never.” “We will continue to advance the fight to implement our treaties, said the Grand Council Chief. “We will direct our words and actions against attempts by this government to ram unlawful legislation down the throats of all Canadians. First Nations have never been defeated in battle in this country and we won’t start now.

“The Anishinabek have developed the tools to restore our own jurisdiction. We’re just waiting for our treaty partner to sit with us at the table.”

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