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Idle No More calls for June 21 Million First People’s March

John Bell

April 3, 2013

We can expect more Idle No More actions through the spring, as First Nations directly challenge the anti-environmental policies of the Harper Tories.
Grand Elder Raymond Robinson of the Cross Lake First Nation in Manitoba has begun a total huger strike to protest threats by the government to withhold funding from First Nations that oppose Tory omnibus legislation.
Harper’s regime has added a new appendix to the Comprehensive Funding Agreements sent to First Nations forcing them to drop opposition to legislation gutting environmental protections. A few First Nations have refused to sign the agreements; others have publicly stated they are signing under duress. The Onion Lake Cree Nation has threatened legal action and demanded the third party mediation with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt.
Grand Elder Robinson addressed his protest directly to Harper: “Prime Minister, listen to me Prime Minister of Canada, all you need to do is meet with my chiefs on a nation to nation basis. All you need to do is start seriously having open dialogue with my people. All you have to do is take those new amendments the Agreements that you’re forcing first nations to accept.”
Meanwhile, Idle No More has gone international. In Seattle, activists chained themselves to the doors of the Canadian Consulate to protest Canada’s “utter disregard for environmental protections and First Nations rights.”
Other groups are walking from the nations to Ottawa to keep pressure and awareness up. A family from the northern Saskatchewan community of Stanley Mission is walking to highlight concern for the land and waterways, and opposition to nuclear power. According to organizer Bruce McKenzie, "We’re going to keep walking through Saskatoon, and then from Saskatoon to Yorkton, and Yorkton to Winnipeg, Winnipeg to Thunder Bay, Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie, and Sault Ste. Marie to Sudbury. That’ll be the last city before we reach Ottawa.”
The goal is to arrive in Ottawa in time for the Million First People’s March on June 21. The call has gone out for all First Nations people and their allies to join a day of cultural celebration and peaceful political protest.

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