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NEWS: Day 24 of Chief Spence’s hunger strike

Chief Theresa Spence today. Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/ Canadian Press

Chief Theresa Spence today. Photo by Sean Kilpatrick/ Canadian Press

It’s now Day 24 of Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike.

Over the past couple of days it has been reported that Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo has called for a meeting with the Prime Minister, the Governor-General and First Nations leaders on January 24 — the 45th day of Chief Spence’s hunger strike — to discuss the Treaty relationship with First Nations.

The Globe and Mail reports, “But if Mr. Atleo thought the acceptance of the invitation alone would end the hunger strikes, he was wrong. Danny Metatawabin, a spokesman for Ms. Spence, said Jan. 24 is simply too far away. …(Chief Spence) has told her supporters and other native leaders that a meeting must occur within the next 72 hours, and she will not start eating until it has begun.” CBC notes, “Spence wants to meet with representatives of the Crown for not just one day, but ‘seven days or two weeks’, to discuss treaty-related issues.” And APTN adds, “Spence also expects a response to her request from the prime minister and the governor general within 72 hours. If the deadline passes, mass demonstrations will unfold across the country, said Metatawabin.”

APTN reports this evening, “When members of the Aamjiwnaang First Nation in Sarnia agreed to shut down their blockade of a CN Rail line Wednesday at midnight that was believed to be the end of it. But it’s not over. Saturday they will attempt to block traffic on the Blue Water Bridge that also serves as the US/Canada border access. And then they’re going to get strategic explains spokesman Ron Plain (including the use of 12-hour, 24-hour, and 36-hour roving blockades)… They intend to shut down access to selected factories here for up to days at a time in the area known as Chemical Valley. …The Mi’kmaq from Listuguj First Nation still holding a rail blockade. The Mi’kmaq there have been blocking the railway at Pointe-a-la-Croix in Quebec since Dec. 28, 2012. More rail and highway blockades, however, are expected in the coming days and weeks. First Nations chiefs are planning to hold a national day of action on Jan. 16 which could see the beginning of indefinite blockades across the country.”

Spokespeople for the Prime Minister and the Governor-General have only said they will respond to the AFN invitation in “due course”.