Native women, AFN, renew calls on Harper, Governor General, to meet with Spence

by Terry Pedwell

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper is fostering hatred of aboriginals across the country by failing to condemn racist reactions to the Idle No More movement, says a women’s group.

The accusation came Friday as Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs announced that the Assembly of First Nations had approved a resolution renewing calls for a meeting with Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston on Jan. 24.

There are strong and growing racial undertones to much of the reaction seen so far to protests over aboriginal treaty rights, says Ellen Gabriel of the Indigenous Women of Turtle Island.

“We just have to look at the Oka crisis in 1990,” she said.

“The same things that (were happening then), and comments about indigenous people, are happening once again. That’s the underlying current that we see.”

The nearly three-month-long Oka crisis resulted from a conflict between Mohawk people in Kanesatake and the town of Oka, Que. One person died as a result of the land claim dispute.

Gabriel, who is from Kanesatake, made the comments after she and Leanne Simpson delivered a letter to Harper, pleading with him and Gov. Gen. David Johnston to meet with Theresa Spence.

The chief of the community of Attawapiskat in northern Ontario continued a hunger protest Friday, that began on Dec. 11, to persuade Harper and Johnston to meet together with First Nations leaders to talk about the plight of aboriginal people.

Chiefs from Ontario who have been among her most ardent supporters begged Spence this week to give up her protest.

And on Friday, Grand Chief Murray Clearsky of the Manitoba Southern Chiefs Organization met with Spence in her teepee on Victoria Island in the Ottawa River, where he also urged her to start eating solid food again.

“The message was, in a kind and good way, to reconsider,” said Clearsky.

“She made her point, with what she accomplished.”

Spence did not respond directly to the plea, said Clearsky.

A simple gesture from the prime minister to meet with Spence might end her liquids-only protest, said Gabriel.

“We appeal to their sense of humanity to at least commit today to a meeting,” she said.

“It’s very important at this point in time, considering Chief Spence’s health, considering the amount of racism that we’re seeing against indigenous peoples … that this is an urgent meeting that needs to happen.”

Spence last week boycotted a meeting of some First Nations leaders with Harper because the Governor General was not in attendance. She did attend a ceremonial meeting last Friday evening with Johnston, but later dismissed the gathering through her spokesman as a waste of time.

Demonstrations organized by the Idle No More movement have been held this week across the country. While those protests have caused some traffic disruptions and angst among commuters, none have been violent.

But several chiefs have expressed concerns that some Idle No More supporters could lash out, should Spence or her co-protester Raymond Robinson die from their hunger protests.

The prime minister’s office has so far said that it would entertain a meeting among First Nations chiefs and Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan on Jan. 24 or another date, but has not agreed to a gathering that would include Harper and the Governor General.




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Native women, AFN, renew calls on Harper, Governor General, to meet with Spence

  1. Under NO cirumstance should the PM, the GG or anyobody else meet anyone outside of the existing framework implemented by Chief Atleo and Harper – this would set a terrible precedent and only encourage more and more dissension and disappointment and sabotage tactics as a re presently being used! The PM and the GG came to the last meeting as requested and their effort was thrown back in their faces by Cheif Receipts No More and has only succeeded in causing the very situation these women claim Harper is repsonsible for. The only racism I see is from these women who have bought so much into the self perpetuating victimhoood they obviollsy suffer from that they have lost alll common sense or they are just your usual wing nut media hounds that like to see thier name in the news. In either event they are not only irrelevant they are doing more damage to the cause than anything of benefit

    • This is nothing more than radical Pam Palamtaeer being a sore loser. Atleo won deal with it

    • The racism extends to the core of the ‘indigenism’ ideology that holds indians to have a superiority based on a form of primogeniture. The racist neologism ‘first nation’ was conceived as a way to promote and advance this loathsome scam.

  2. ” Harper is fostering hatred of aboriginals…”

    No, it’s the protesters blocking roads and rail lines that foster at least dislike, though hatred is probably too strong a term for most reactions.

    When loudmouth chiefs like Nepinak threaten to crush peoples livelihoods and bring them to their knees, it would be naive at the least not to expect negative reactions.

  3. “A simple gesture from the prime minister to meet with Spence might end her liquids-only protest…”

    Spence already was invited to meet, and had her meeting, and now she’s back on the island nurturing her many chins.

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