January 4, 2013, Victoria Island, traditional territory of the Algonquian Peoples: As Chief Theresa Spence enters into her twenty fifth day of her hunger strike, her message is becoming more crucial.
“We are calling on the Prime Minister and the Governor General to meet with us. This is a crisis and we cannot continue on this path of social indifference. We urgently need to meet and begin a discussion that will take our Peace and Friendship Treaties on the right path of their full implementation in the spirit and intent of their conclusion,” stated Chief Spence.
This statement comes on the heels of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) sending an urgent letter addressed to Prime Minister Harper to meet with them on January 24th, 2013. This date marks the one year anniversary of the “Crown-First Nations” gathering that brought Chiefs, Prime Minister and the Governor General of Canada together.
“It is a matter of conscience for the meeting to take place. If Canada wants to continue to be considered a first world state, then leadership should act the part. Chief Spence cannot physically sustain her hunger strike until January 24th; this would take her to forty five days without ingesting food. I don’t know if any human being can survive that long without food. I’m again calling for urgent action now.” stated Danny Metatawabin, Spokesperson for Chief Theresa Spence.
Furthermore, Canada is currently failing to meet many domestic and international legal obligations in addressing Indigenous Rights and Entitlements. One of these violations includes violence against Indigenous women. Over six hundred Indigenous women are murdered or missing in Canada and leaders are demanding a public inquiry.
Chief Spence has become aware of the recent news of a hate crime against an Indigenous woman in the Thunder Bay area. “Our prayers are with her and her family. This violent sexual assault is horrific and justice needs to occur. Our Indigenous women are the heart and backbone of our communities and we stand together today in solidarity to say, we are not going to rest until this case has been resolved and will seek justice!” concluded Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation.
Nicole Robertson, Communications Advisor
Muskwa Productions & Consulting
Danny Metatawabin, Spokesperson
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- Indigenous and Human Rights Groups Issue Joint Statement Supporting Chief Spence and #IdleNoMore