Updated: Chiefs issue new request to meet Harper, but no evidence PM will agree


OTTAWA – Top First Nations chiefs from across the country have set aside their differences for now and signed on to a request for yet another meeting with the prime minister — all in an attempt to bring the protest by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence to an end.

The Assembly of First Nations’ executive agreed to the request in writing and sent a letter to Stephen Harper on the weekend, calling for a meeting as soon as Thursday — a day by which Shawn Atleo could well be back on the job.

Atleo took a sudden sick leave after his controversial meeting with Harper 10 days ago amidst a leadership crisis within the AFN. He issued a statement Monday saying he would be back in the saddle “later this week.”

Unlike the divisive Jan. 11 meeting, this week’s proposed meeting with Harper would include a broad range of chiefs as well as Gov.-Gen. David Johnston, as requested by Spence.

“The intent behind it is to try to end Chief Spence’s hunger strike,” said Morley Googoo, regional chief for Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

And unlike the previous meeting, Spence’s spokesman says the Cree leader is onside.

“We all need to work together,” said Danny Metatawabin, adding that Spence was feeling “well, chirpy, happy” on Monday morning despite having spent the last six weeks subsisting only on fish broth and medicinal tea.

There’s nothing to suggest Harper is inclined to agree to the request, despite the newfound unity among chiefs. Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman for the prime minister, said Harper would respond to the AFN’s letter “in due course.”

“For us, the next step is (meeting) National Chief Atleo, one-on-one, to hammer out some of the detail on the way forward,” MacDougall said.

The Governor General was not included in the previous meeting because it is the government that makes policy decisions in Canada, not the Queen’s representative, he added. “And that’s how we’re still looking at the matter.”

Still, MacDougall acknowledged that there is a great deal of pressure to show concrete results that will lead to material improvements for First Nations peoples.

“We have to keep up the momentum and keep showing that there is progress that can be made.”

Googoo said the best way for Harper to show goodwill and immediate progress would be to agree to the Jan. 24 meeting, which would be in addition to the meeting with Atleo to work on treaty implementation and comprehensive claims.

Thursday is the AFN’s “preferred date” for a broader meeting, he said, because it is the one-year anniversary of a major summit between chiefs, Harper and Johnston that was supposed to reinvigorate the Crown-First Nation relationship. But the AFN realizes there may be a need for some flexibility on the date since it is so soon, Googoo acknowledged.

He said he hopes that a solid commitment to such a meeting would be enough to entice Spence to end her protest.

Harper agreed to a meeting with the AFN, but his exclusion of Johnston and his setting of the meeting agenda prompted Spence and many other chiefs to orchestrate a boycott and question the leadership of Atleo, who went into the meeting despite loud protests in the streets.

In his statement on Monday, Atleo called for unity and rational discussion of internal disagreements. But he also opened the door to structural changes within the national organization, just as conflicts in the past have led to restructuring.

“Many changes were made; many more conversations remain,” Atleo writes.

“Let us ensure that those conversations are conducted with respect, respectful of our traditions, respectful of each other and respectful of our different approaches to winning progress for our peoples.”

But while angry chiefs have muted their criticism of Atleo for now, they still harbour concerns about his leadership.

“For Ontario, we’re just trying to maintain focus on what the objectives are…. There’s a concern regarding leadership but there’s a process and time for that,” said Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy, who boycotted the Jan. 11 meeting.

“The sense of urgency there is that Theresa Spence has indicated that she’ll continue on with her hunger strike until such time as a meeting takes place.”

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Updated: Chiefs issue new request to meet Harper, but no evidence PM will agree

  1. Gosh, rather than dumping Spence the way the racists on here were claiming…..the chiefs have embraced her demand.

    Now, we got us a convoy….

    • Listen to the BIGGEST racest talk, look in the mirror, God what a joke! by bye EmilyOne

      • Sorry, but ‘projection’ won’t work on here. Also spellcheck is your friend.

        • Burned out bulb there Emily?

          • You’re much older than you sound, apparently

          • So you hear voices when you troll on Maceans.ca do you?

  2. Under No Circumstance should or can the PM, the GG and the Premier on Ontario give in to this constant threat of extortion. The opportunity came and went and Chief No Receipts and a few Chiefs thought they could keep playing their games and continue the extortion – BUT – the game has changed for most Canadains more than 50 % now have seen the light as it were and realize that they were hoodwinked into and became part of the internal poltics of the FN chiefs. These malcontents could have achieved so much for their cause but they overplayed their hands! This weekend ‘ Question Period ‘ showed everyone exactly what Spence is doing and was quite the interview – she was asked about the meeting as I quote her answer ‘ Harper called it a WORKING meeting and we didn’t want that we wanted to have a MEETING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! in otherwords she fell into a common trap and alowed her private agenda and vanity from her supporters to preclude actually getting something done!!!!! she could have actually achieved something instead she torpedoed any and all chances of anything meannigfull coming from her – she is now officially part of the problem and not any soltuion

    • Toss the talking points, and pay attention to the actual situation.

      • Emily, please tell us, what is the actual situation?

    • I agree!

  3. I think it is about time Chief Spence Idle No More and return to her home and find all those missing receipts for the money the rest of us hard working canadians gave her to help her people, not herself and her life partner. How come with earning $850.00 per day Clayton could not even bother to pay back the people he ripped off to the tune of $25,000 in his bankrupty??? They should both be fasting in a jail cell!!!!

  4. ” results that will lead to material improvements for First Nations peoples.”

    Well, Atleo might be pressing for something like that, but the chiefs are intent on leading to material improvements for themselves, and a boost to their status, privilege, and power based on this ridiculous ‘nation to nation’ ideology that seeks to place each chief of each little village of a few hundred souls on an equal footing with the PM and the government.

    Meanwhile the indians themselves, those living on reserves under the tutelage of the chiefs, are not going to gain anything from promoting those same chiefs.

    • No…..there are only 60 nations. There are 600 bands. There are over a million natives.

      They don’t count small reserves.

      • There are over 600 chiefs, each trying to be a ‘nation’.

        And they can’t even agree on an agenda.

        • No, a chief is like a local reeve or a mayor. The people of Attawapiskat are Cree.

          There are 60 First Nations….they are as distinct as Hungarians and Ukranians who are both European.

          Have we gotten Europe to agree on everything yet? If not, why do you expect it of FN?

          However they just agreed on an agenda….so even your complaint is mistaken

          • Each and every reserve is a supposed ‘nation’. They put up signs saying so. Tsuu T’ina First Nation. Siksika First Nation. Waywayseecapo First Nation. Attawapiskat First Nation. And so on.

            And even individual indians will claim “I’m a first nation”.

            The term is used in so many different ways it cannot truly be said to have an actual meaning.

          • They are members of a First Nation, not a separate one.

            Attawapiskat is a member of the Cree nation.

            Individuals will say they are a FN individual.

            FIRST NATION…..quite clear.

          • If they do not consider themselves to be ‘first nations’, then they all need to change their signs.

            An individual cannot be a nation, first, last, or otherwise.

          • Oh well….I’m sure they’ll get right on that if you say so.

          • I’ve seen no sign af any sort of agenda. Atleo might have one, but thus far from the dissident chiefs it’s been limited to trying to force a meeting of some sort on what they call ‘their’ terms… trying to create symbolic substance for their racist ‘nation to nation’ ideology.

          • It’s right on this site.

          • Oh?

            What would it be, then?

            (other than vacuous platitudes about resetting relationships or other drivel)

          • Ah, some different site, then, and not this one.

            More money, more money, and even more money, it looks like. The chiefs have already said they’re opposed to the recent Clean Water legislation, probably because it imposes standards on the chief’s performance instead of just giving them more money.

          • “Atleo outlined bread-and-butter demands for schools on
            every reserve, clean drinking water and stable funding that grows along with
            the size of the population.

            First Nations leaders also want Harper to agree to a
            national inquiry into the many hundreds of aboriginal women and girls who have
            gone missing or been murdered.

            And they want the prime minister to pull back key sections
            of his two budget omnibus bills that radically changed environmental oversight
            in favour of natural resource extraction. They want a new regime to better
            protect the environment instead.

            For the medium term, they want Harper to set up a new
            process to examine the implementation of treaties. Atleo and Saskatchewan
            regional Chief Perry Bellegarde want to see the process run out of the Prime
            Minister’s Office or the Privy Council Office so that federal negotiators
            actually have some power. They also want to see strict timelines for delivery of

            They will also be asking Harper to designate a minister —
            possibly Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver — to bring together First
            Nations and provincial governments to explore how First Nations can better
            participate in resource extraction and share in resource revenues.”

            First of all, this is yellow journalism at it’s finest. The
            slant is heavy.

            I don’t have issues with many of these requests. I notice
            however, that it is expected without any changes on the other side. Throwing
            money at this has proven not to work, and might be part of the problem. Putting
            people on welfare typically does not lead to them being productive.

            I fully support education for natives. I support it in the
            manner that will provide the best outcome. I support it if it allows for
            tracking of the money. I think we should do everything we can to help them. By
            that I mean help them become self-supporting, by whatever means. I also support
            a system that is set up to help them the most, by rigorously accounting for
            each dollar, and ensuring it goes to help the average native. The social
            problems are huge. This will not be fixed overnight, or even in my lifetime. But
            in order for it to be fixed the chiefs have to stop thinking only about

          • In other words you’re all for it.

            Unless it costs money of course.

            Or unless it’s done to suit you, and you get to preach to them

          • No, those would not be good ‘other words’ to sum up what I just posted.
            How can you get that out of my post? Did you even read my post? When I say I support something that the government does, I realize that it doesn’t get paid for with fairy dust – it costs money. I said I support those things. I said “I think we should do everything we can to help them.”

            To ask that the dollars spent not be wasted or stolen is not asking much. To ask that they systems put in place are the most efficient and get the most benefit for the persons that they are supposed to help is not asking much. How on earth is that ‘preachy’?

            I think you thrive on confrontation, and you are the one running around to other posts stirring up crap. If you actually disagree that the dollars spent on helping the Indians be tracked, you are out to lunch. If you disagree that we should be getting the most value we can for the people that are being helped, you are out to lunch. If you disagree with my posts, feel free to offer a suggestion, or thought, that would suggest a better course of action. If not, yet again, don’t comment unless you have something worth commenting.

          • Well if the Harper govt put the same amount of money into something else…you wouldn’t be talking about your money being ‘stolen’ or ‘wasted’

            We are not ‘helping’ them….it isn’t a favor. It’s a contractual obligation we agreed to.

            I think you attack me every time your opinion is disagreed with. That is typical of Con-ness….most of whom seem to have been an only child.

          • This ‘throwing money’ strategy has been used for many, many years, by all gov’ts. It is not a left right thing. It was easier politically to just throw money without a plan.
            You are correct however, when you say we are not helping them. This is true. If you gave any person no reason to acheive and excel, by giving them money, only if they stay under certain conditions, you are not helpoing them. You are hurting them.

            We have gone far beyond what we agreed to, and will continue to do so. Much has been ‘read into’ the treaties. If they were taken at face value, very little money would be transferred. Not saying that we shouldn’t – just saying it should be with a plan.

            I actually only ‘attack’ after you throw mud. Not first. Read todays posts for proof. (Unless you think politely disagreeing is ‘attacking’).

            Not sure what you mean about the only child comment. I certainly won’t stereotype about them. I can assure you that I am not one. I would like to see your statistics that prove that most conservatives are only children. (And the way you use the term here I assume you think is a bad thing?)

            And you prove again that you must throw mud or call names. I am simply presenting an opinion. You are not presenting a counter opinion – just name calling. And, I will add, you haven’t answered a single question that I have posted.

          • Definitions matter with a treaty…..is a medicine bundle a first aid kit as PET claimed, or medicare as the natives claimed. I’d say it would have to be medicare in this day and age.

            Many people on here attack me ….females on political sites who disagree often get attacked. I find the whole thing tedious, but I certainly snap back when someone gets out of line.

            I said that about an ‘only child’ because many Cons act as though no one has ever disagreed with them before….and they don’t appear to know how to handle it…..so they seem to have been only children.

            See…I haven’t called you a name but you think I have…..and as far as I know I’ve answered any question I’ve been asked.

          • And your posts are typical of Dumb-Ness

          • This from the first boy in the choir to unhinge his jaw upon command

          • Wrong site again the one for unemployable perverts is next door Scumbag

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Give it up Crackhead are so pathetic you are using insults from three months ago

          • Think the site for unemployable crackheads is next door take a wrong turn again

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Blah,Blah,Blah,Crackhead COMPRESS

          • They are not nations. Nations are independent, self governing and have borders not reserves in a real nation.

          • Most small town mayors or reeves dont make $70,000 a year and have 19 people on town council

      • Whatever picky picky!

        • It’s kind of important. And we’ve had enough lying on this entire story as it is.

          • So you should toss your keyboard then.

          • What….at you?

      • There is one nation. . . get with the 90’s

        • The stupid…it runs deep.

          • You are 100% proof of that

          • here, here

          • And the Party of Religious Nutbars.

          • NDP-CCF founder the Rev.Tommy Douglas

          • Yup, but they were quieter Christians….not nutbars.

          • Cons….The Party of Stupid

          • If that was so you would be its most valuable member

          • Could you do the high school stuff elsewhere please?

          • At least I made to high school unlike you

          • Yeah, your illiteracy and juvenile retorts makes that ….er….

          • Emily, that is the pot calling the kettle black. Please, go over this story alone and read all of your posts. You insult almost everyone who doesn’t agree with you. And you usually start the insults. That is what would qualify as juvenile retorts.
            Please, if you do not already recieve it, seek professional mental help.

          • You are unaware that these posters follow me around every topic playing their high school games. They haven’t the slightest interest in facts or conversation.

            Don’t enter someone else’s discussion

          • That may be the case, from what I can read. That doesn’t excuse your post to me.
            I always engage in conversation, have facts to back up opinion, and like a heated exchange. In the past, I seem to recall you calling me names and stopping the (rational part of the) discussion anytime your ideas or posts get shot full of holes.

          • You’ve been here before, doing much the same thing as they do. In fact you just broke in with ‘There is one nation. . . get with the 90’s’

          • See, Emily; that’s the problem. You see many nations, I see one. You have your opinion, I have mine. That you cannot bear to have someone challenge yours is the root problem.
            I have no problem with you countering my points with your own. I will reply to the points that are valid. You tend to make a point (sometimes with facts, sometimes without) and shoot down anyone who disagrees.
            You connnot seem to offer a counter point to a counter point. You only see it as your way or shut up.
            I think you would find that if you stopped the name calling, the snide remarks, and all the other bitterness, folks would leave you alone.
            Start answering points with points. Leave the name calling alone, and watch. It will be a different experience for you.

          • That’s not an ‘opinion’ modster….that’s fact. There is more than one nation.

            It’s like claiming Europe is one nation, and not seeing French, Italian, Germans etc

            No, folks wouldn’t ‘leave me alone’. I’ve been online since there was an ‘online’. Under male, female and genderless names. Being sweetness and light or firing back….women aren’t allowed to talk politics.

          • Yup, you’ve made a lot of noise Emily. The Huxleys always argued that if 1000 monkeys randomly strummed typewriter keys for a long enough time, then sooner or later they’d crank out the complete works of Shakespeare. This was to demonstrate that life could have originated on Earth by chance.

            So Emily I begin to see what you’re up to with these thousands of goofy
            comments over years and years. You figure that if JUST ONE MONKEY like you can accidently crank out a work of art, you’ll be famous,

            Not a bad idea Emily.

            I don’t see any Shakespeare on your horizon, but Ripley’s Believe it or Not might be interested in taking a look at you.

          • Those are countries, Emily, in Europe.

            Nothing comparable exists in Canada that could describe any of the reserves or even tribes.

          • And you should consider getting back out to the barn, the cows are lonely

          • And you should consider trolling gay porn sites you are not human enough to post here your waste of skin

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Shove that gerbil up your a–

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Make me Internet Coward!

          • No one is following you Emily.

            You make thousands of stupid comments. No one can avoid you, you’re ubiquitous.

          • Mouley still mops the high school halls…. Its the get the hunchbacks into the workforce program spearheaded by his fellow frontbums in ’09

          • This comment was deleted.

          • Another insult you have used before lay off the crack

          • Emily, if you cannot come up with something to say, don’t say anything. To just say that your stupidity runs deep doesn’t further the conversation at all.

          • Okay then, go play in traffic.

      • The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is the national representative
        organization of the First Nations in Canada. There are over 630 First
        Nation’s communities in Canada.

        • AFN is not a nation….it’s an organization of nations.

          There are over 630 FN COMMUNITIES in Canada, yes indeed.

          • Wikipedia says there are 630 ‘first nations’, not your suggestion of 60.


            It just illustrates how inapt a term it really is.

          • Try again, champ. I know English is difficult, but….it says govts or bands.

            But…….. let’s play with it, seeing as you like games so much.

            Suppose there were …oh, a thousand FN. Hell, lets say 2000

            How would that help you?

          • “… over 630[3] recognized First Nations… ”

            Looks pretty clear to me.

          • There are currently over 630[3] recognized First Nations governments or bands”

            Yes, it is actually….

            Now answer the question

          • So, are they supposed to be nations, governments, or bands? What is it you’re trying to claim here?

            And even the AFN has many more than 60 of these supposed nations represented.

            Nobody uses the same definition.

          • Yeah they do. You are just arsing around.

            Now answer the question.

          • Heh heh heh… you had a question somewhere in that noise?

            The answer is that the neologism ‘first nation’ was invented for the purpose of advancing a racist and exclusionary ideology that seeks to privilege a small group (or groups… it’s not at all clear).

            It also has the effect of obscuring the difference between people (ie- indians) and organizations (ie- bands, reserves, etc) with the aim of foisting the idea that benefiting the organizations automatically benefits the people.

            This latter allows the chiefs to point to impoverished indians as a lever to obtain more power for themselves and for the organizations they run.

            Worse yet, it provides the chiefs with a perverse incentive to keep lots of impoverished indians on their reserve in order to use to push demands for more money. Sort of like beggars who cultivate loathsome looking sores on their bodies in order to gain sympathy and alms.

          • This is the question.

            ‘Suppose there were …oh, a thousand FN. Hell, lets say 2000

            How would that help you?’

            And please stop with the nonsense. First Nation is quite clear to everyone….

          • Glynn – I can’t say
            that I entirely agree with you, but you make some interesting points.

            What I would like to see articulated by the defenders of the
            ‘nations within a nation’ idea, is how that system can function. I cannot
            fathom how reserves can continue to survive (if you call it that) while they
            get money for not working. I am sure that any honest physiologist would say that this sort of system is hurting them.

            Unless they can get their own industries going, learn skills, and achieve more for themselves, I cannot begin to guess how they will carry on. More money or ‘fixing this and that’ will accomplish nothing. If they truly feel that they need to stay separate form the rest of Canada (which by definition would be self-segregation) they should understand that they need a plan to enable them to do it. More money will only promote, if not exacerbate, the social problems.

            The main problem is that a white person cannot point out the obvious, as they get called racist. I feel very sad for the plight of the natives on some reserves. I also feel bad that it seems it is their leaders who hamper any help they could receive.

          • Seriously, Emily, the same term cannot apply to an individual and to an organization. The one thing is in no sense similar to the other.

            And whether there are 60, 630+, or over a million so-called ‘nations’ is only important insofar as it prevents any coherent approach to the concept.

            Plus of course the idea of treating however many chiefs, be it one or many, as equal in status to the leader of an actual country is an absurdity. And the more of them there are demanding each to be treated as an ‘equal’ to the cumulative totality of everyone else the less possible it would be to ever enact any legislation.

          • If you actually wanted to be serious you’d dump the nonsense that anyone is applying the word ‘nation’ to either an individual or an organization.

            THIS is a nation

            There is certainly a coherent approach to the problem, but it won’t be solved by people making smart-ass remarks about Spence or treaties on a chatsite.

            So….if you don’t like the idea of 2000 separate nations within Canada….try dealing with the situation as it actually exists instead of the constant exaggeration and fantasy.

          • I’m not the one that uses “first nation” to refer to individuals sometimes, reserves at other times, and tribes or ethno-culturo-linguistic groups on occasion.

            In fact I myself disparage the whole idea.

            BTW, you’re the only one who has suggested 2000 of them, whatever you’re using the term as.

          • No one else does either.

            And I said WHAT IF there were 2000 FN within Canada?

            630 or 2000….what difference would it make? How would that help you?

            You are simply playing games, and not addressing the problem

    • I AGREE!

  5. Congrats to her for forcing her issue, but it seems a bit like blackmail. “give me what I want or I will hurt myself….”

    As far as meeting with her, I think they should wait a few months. Personally (and I would consider myself quite thin), if I were to exsist on fish broth and medicinal tea for 6 weeks, I would be a toothpick. What I mean is, after 6 weeks, the weight loss would be extremely noticable.

    I suspect she has been eating. I have seen before and after pictures, and it doesn’t appear that she has had any physical change. (I guess it is true that she could be losing fat everywhere except her face.)

    Now before you attack me for picking on fat people, take a step back. It isn’t about that at all. If she is eating more than what she is claiming, she is a liar. If that is the case, should we be listening to her at all?

  6. Spence can continue her hunger strike. Who cares? Nowhere do we see what the Indians are prepared to do to improve their lives, its all about what the rest of the country needs to give them. Nothing new here.

    • Nothing will improve until the chiefs put the average indians needs above their own personal gain. For that to happen, the average indian needs to force it. They are protesting the wrong thing, and the wrong people. Canada has done much for them (and to them, to be fair) but the situation is hopeless until different ideas take hold.

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