by Staff Writers
A native chief’s hunger strike in view of Canada’s parliament has inspired an aboriginal rights movement and massive protests across Canada and far beyond its borders.
Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike on tiny Victoria Island on the Ottawa River, which flows past parliament perched atop a hill, is in its second week.
She refuses to eat until Prime Minister Stephen Harper or Governor General David Johnston, who is Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in this former British colony, agrees to meet with her.
Spence sleeps in a teepee, warming herself by an open fire and drinking a bit of fish broth to keep up her strength.
Her breath crystallized in the cold winter air, as a severe storm blanketing the capital city with snow.
Beyond the island, Spence’s strike has become the focal point for Idle No More, an aboriginal rights movement strung together last month by four native women who met online.
The campaign has since exploded into dozens of small protests and highway blockades, and has inspired thousands to demand their treaty rights.
Several solidarity hunger strikes were also launched last week and a man was arrested in easternmost Canada on Tuesday after chopping down a hydro pole to support Idle No More.
“Chief Theresa Spence is not alone, the chiefs of… indigenous people across this country support her efforts to bring our treaty partners to the table,” said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Yesno.
- Idle No More protest congests Winnipeg airport traffic (cbc.ca)
- Native group urges PM to end Chief’s hunger strike (sunnewsnetwork.ca)
- ‘Idle No More’: Hunger-striking Attawapiskat chief vows to ‘die’ for her people as aboriginal protests spread (news.nationalpost.com)
- Attawapiskat chief plans hunger strike to force Harper meeting (cbc.ca)
- Aboriginal leaders to descend on Ottawa today in national protest demanding change (news.nationalpost.com)
- Chief vows to ‘die’ if necessary to improve lot of aboriginal people (ctvnews.ca)
- National chief urges Canadians to ‘stand with us’ (cbc.ca)
- Aboriginal protest closes Trans-Canada Highway in northern Ontario (ctvnews.ca)
- Reluctant leader Theresa Spence inspires a nation (canada.com)