December 31, 2012, Victoria Island, traditional territory of the Algonquian Peoples: Today is the thirty first day of Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike and the last day of 2012. Yesterday, Chief Spence met with Senators and Members of Parliament from the New Democratic Party, Liberal Party and Parti Quebecois. Noticeably absent was any MP’s from the Conservative Party. Chiefs from across all Treaty territories and other traditional territories have come to support and rally with Chief Spence. The momentum is building and our Indigenous Nations are unified in our message to this current federal government.
“To unilaterally change the conditions of Treaty is not legal. The failure of the Crown to abide by the conditions of Treaty must have consequences. A failure by your government to protect our Treaty rights allows us to protect those rights ourselves. Our ancestors promised peaceful co-existence but we will not wait forever for the government to complete their obligation under the Treaty,” stated Chief Theresa Spence.
This Canadian government has encouraged a process of segregation by introducing numerous legislative statutes to restrict and remove any say from our communities over our lands that were left for us by our ancestors and used by our forefathers. Canada is also pursuing to remove our access to our lands. This will not happen without a fight from our Peoples and now is the appropriate time to call to action in the most peaceful and respective way that reflects our natural laws as Indigenous Nations.
Indigenous Peoples are the original inhabitants and stewards of the land. When European explorers first came here, they were seeking economic advantages or escaping conditions of poverty in Europe. Our Indigenous ancestors welcomed them and the bounty entrusted to us by Mother Earth. In exchange for the graciousness of our forefathers over a hundred years ago, we were relegated to living in small desolate tracts of land called reserves and were also made wards of the state through the statutes contained in the Indian Act. This has been our historical experiences.
“Today, we are reigniting a Nation to Nation relationship based on our Inherent and constitutionally protected rights as a Sovereign Nations. We are demanding our rightful place back here in our homelands that we all call Canada. I call upon Her Majesty, the Queen that has a Treaty relationship and obligation by entering into Treaties with our Peoples, and for the Crown to come to the table, along with the Prime Minister of Canada to have a meaningful dialogue about restoring the respect of the political and economic relationship with our Peoples. We want to reset and re-establish this relationship with Canada but need a willing partner in order to do so,” concluded Chief Spence.
Nicole Robertson, Communications Advisor
Muskwa Productions & Consulting
Danny Metatawabin, Spokesperson