Canadian Aboriginal Chief to End Hunger Strike
OTTAWA, Ontario January 24, 2013 (AP)
A Canadian tribal chief said she will end her six-week hunger protest over aboriginal rights Thursday when indigenous leaders and advocates plan to spell out a list of 13 demands.
Theresa Spence, a 49-year-old Attawapiskat chief in northern Ontario, decided that she will end her fast after opposition parties and aboriginal chiefs signed a declaration Wednesday on specific demands that they will present to the government.
Spence began fasting to press her demand for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. She galvanized a cross-country grassroots aboriginal protest movement about legal changes to environmental laws and land rights. Harper met with top aboriginal leaders earlier this month, but Spence declined to attend because she also wanted Governor General David Johnston, the representative of Queen Elizabeth II in Canada, at the meeting.
The declaration calls for improvements to housing and schools on reserves, as well as an immediate meeting between the governor general, the federal and provincial governments and aboriginal leaders. They argue the governor general's presence is imperative because the talks center on treaty rights first established by the Royal Proclamation of 1793.