Current Affairs Politics

Support For Hunger Striker Theresa Spence Grows

In support of hunger striker Theresa Spence, leader of the Attawapiskat First Nation of North America (Photo: Tamara Herman)
In support of hunger striker Theresa Spence, leader of the Attawapiskat First Nation of North America (Photo: Tamara Herman)

More news from Canada and beyond in relation to the hunger strike by Theresa Spence, leader of the Attawapiskat First Nation (one of the indigenous peoples of Canada), and the protests by Idle No More, the aboriginal rights’ movement. From the BBC:

“Protesters supporting a Native Canadian chief’s 23-day hunger strike have blocked a rail line in eastern Quebec.

While the Attawapiskat leader has continued her fast, First Nations protesters and others have rallied around her and Idle No More to protest a range of issues.

At Quebec’s Pointe-a-la-Croix, protesters on Wednesday blocked cargo transport but allowed passenger trains through.

Ms Spence has staged her protest in a traditional teepee within sight of the parliament buildings in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city.

Ms Spence has urged Mr Harper to “open his heart” and meet native leaders.

Instead, the Canadian government has offered a meeting with Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan.

“I know it’s hard for people to understand what I’m doing,” she told reporters on 28 December. “But it’s for this pain that’s been going on too long with our people.”

Ms Spence invited MPs and senators to visit her teepee on Sunday. High-profile visitors have included former Canadian Prime Minister Joe Clark.

Supporters of the Idle No More movement held marches, rallies and highway blockades across Canada in 2012, as well as “flash mob” protests with traditional drumming and dancing.”

Meanwhile The New Zealand Herald reports that:

“An indigenous protest movement, which has seen civil disobedience across Canada, has been joined by a group in New Zealand.

The Idle No More uprising, sparked by Canadian ‘first peoples’ incensed by inequality and treaty rights, has gained support from indigenous populations around the world.

It has now reached New Zealand shores, with a Maori women’s group organising rallies and calling for mobilised action.

A rally was held on December 28 on Waiheke Island, and a protest was held outside the Canadian Embassy in Wellington on New Year’s Eve.

An ‘Aotearoa in Support of Idle No More’ Facebook page has been launched, and organisers have warned of disruptions.

“We feel there has been a global assault on indigenous sovereignty,” said Marama Davidson, spokeswoman for the Auckland-based Maori women’s collective Te Wharepora Hou.

“This is the global call we’ve been waiting for. Now, we can join together and start looking at solutions.”

Flash mobs up to 400-strong targeted Christmas shoppers at malls across Canada, protesting against controversial government budget legislation.

The protesters say the legislation fails to constitutionally recognise and affirm treaty and aboriginal rights, and ignores legal obligations to consult and accommodate first nations.”

Is it not time for action in support of Thereas and Idle No More in Ireland and the other Celtic nations?

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