The end of a protest

Amid mixed polling, questions about her health and a report that she was facing an ultimatum, Theresa Spence will be honoured this morning in downtown Ottawa by the Nishnawbe Aski Nation and then proceed to a news conference at 11am.

The Liberals have announced that Bob Rae will be at that news conference.

AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo will have a news conference in Vancouver at 3:30pm EST.

Update 10:24am. Chief Spence is reportedly now in hospital and will not attend this morning’s news conference.

Update 10:44am. A statement from Chief Spence.

January 24, 2013, Victoria Island, traditional territory of the Algonquian Peoples…Chief Theresa Spence and Raymond Robinson have officially ended their hunger strikes today. This announcement comes after a signed declaration of commitment on behalf of Treaty Chiefs, the Assembly First Nations (AFN), the Native Women Association of Canada (NWAC), the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Liberal Party of Canada in implementing the thirteen point action plan. 

Chief Spence and Mr. Robinson began their hunger strike over six weeks ago to invoke change by petitioning Canada and the Crown to meet with First Nations leaders on a Nation to Nation basis on Treaty Rights and Implementation. 

“We end our hunger strikes with signed commitments from elected First Nations leaders and opposition parties to urgently carry forward our action plan which ensure that our Treaty Rights are recognized, honoured and fully implemented. Furthermore, we are still calling for an immediate meeting with the Crown, Federal and Provincial governments in order to renew and reset this volatile relationship. Indigenous Peoples have lived well below the poverty line in a country that considered one of the wealthiest in the world. We are no longer idle and precedence has been established over this past six weeks. There’s no going back, our voices have be heard and now I ask for your involvement to move our agenda forward,” stated Chief Theresa Spence. 

“I personally want to thank and acknowledge all our supporters this past six weeks for their prayers, encouragement and genuine support during our hunger strikes. Both Raymond and I have taken with us a deep spiritual experience which has lite a fire that will assist us in implementing our vision where First Nation Peoples have equality and can forge their own destiny,” stated Chief Spence. 

The thirteen point declaration includes eight points that the AFN presented during their meeting with Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. The plan highlights a new framework to ensure that Treaty and non-Treaty Rights are recognized and implemented. A commitment towards resource revenue sharing and a comprehensive review and meaningful consultation on Bill C-38 and C-45 to ensure it is consistent with section 35 of the Constitution Act. The plan also states that ALL current or future federal legislation has Free, Prior and Informed Consent of First Nation Peoples. 

“Canada has legal obligations as Treaty partners to protect our constitutionally recognized rights. Our Indigenous ancestors promised peaceful co-existence and that spirit and intent remains today. Canada cannot afford to fail and needs to abide by conditions of Treaty. As we seen this past month there is consequences to inaction and our Peoples will never be silenced or go back to status quo…it’s a new day and our Peoples spirits have been awakened,” concluded Chief Spence. 

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