LA TUQUE, QC, Jan. 9, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - As a sign of solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence, who previously made known her intention to boycott the meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Grand Chief Eva Ottawa of the Atikamekw Nation will also not be part of the meeting, which is slated to take place in Ottawa this Friday.
Eva Ottawa, Grand Chief of the Council of the Atikamekw Nation, was highly inspired by her meeting last December 31 with Chief Spence, who has been on a hunger strike since December 11. Urging solidarity, Grand Chief Ottawa sees the Atikamekw Nation as a part of the national - and even international - movement spawned by Idle No More.
"The issues raised by Chief Spence's actions are not unique to her community. The current social state of affairs, coupled with under-funding, has given rise to situations that cause overcrowding in homes, the glaring need for housing, the lack of space and even the non-salubrious condition of our schools," said Ms. Ottawa.
"We stand in solidarity with this movement and deplore the attitude displayed by the federal government, whose plans for reform also target the integrity of our territory - a valuable asset for the people of our nation and other aboriginal nations in the country," the Atikamekw Nation Grand Chief went on to say.
In Grand Chief Eva Ottawa's view, the action taken by Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is intended to ensure that Canada honours its duties and obligations. "For more than 30 years, we have wanted autonomy and recognition of our rights. In seeking to amend the Indian Act, the government is moving us back a number of years," said Ms. Ottawa.
The Grand Chief of the Atikamekw Nation therefore seeks to mobilize support in order to keep the pressure on the federal government. She remains hopeful that Prime Minister Harper is able to hear Chief Spence's passionate appeal and will commit to respecting the Crown's honour as far as Canada's First Peoples are concerned. "All I want is, quite simply, for the Prime Minister to finally and ultimately take the aboriginal nations' actions seriously," concluded Eva Ottawa.
About the Council of the Atikamekw Nation
The Council of the Atikamekw Nation is a tribal organization whose mission includes defending and promoting Atikamekw's rights and interests in a social, economic and cultural context. It represents the three Atikamekw communities - Manawan, Opitciwan and Wemotaci - whose total membership is close to 7,000. The Atikamekw People have occupied Nitaskinan for several millennia.
SOURCE: CONSEIL DE LA NATION ATIKAMEKW
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