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Update: INM fasters achieve goal! (was “INM activists fasting for treaty rights in Mi’kma’ki”)

INM activists Shelley Young and Jean Sock reached chiefs and succeeded in convincing them they needed to press pause on the “Made in NS” and “Made in NB” processes until communities are properly consulted. They ate their first bites of food after 11 days of drinking only water on Monday (11 March).

Congratulations to all involved!!

Shelley and Jean taking their first bites after 11 days (photo credit: Bryson Syliboy)

Today marked Day 7 of Shelley Young and Joseph Jean Sock’s fast. These two Idle No More activists are representatives of the grassroots Mi’kmaq people across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the Gaspe Peninsula, also known to the Mi’kmaq communities as Mi’kma’ki.

I went to visit Shelley and Jean yesterday at Millbrook First Nation, just outside of Truro, Nova Scotia. Jean, who also fasted with Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat, was resting while I was there, but I had a great chat with Shelley. She is in good spirits and very passionate about the reasons for fasting.

Shelley is one of several women who took on the role of organizing the Idle No More movement locally, and she is a strong and determined young indigenous activist. Despite being a single mother, she is putting her health at risk to fight for a greater good, with many amazing people supporting her.

With Shelley Young on Day 6 of her fast

Inside their residence at Porcupine Lodge, Millbrook First Nation, NS

Shelley spoke with me about the opposition to the “Made in Nova Scotia” process, which is the focus of the fast. If Mi’kmaq chiefs sign away treaty rights, as promoted by the Made in Nova Scotia process, this could render Idle No More efforts against Harper’s Bills C-38 and C-45 effectively useless. There are serious concerns about the lack of broad-based consultation by band councils involved in this process. To read more about these concerns, see the Halifax Media Coop piece here.

The Council of Canadians expresses support for Shelley and Jean and celebrates the shared values in the work we both do: fighting for democracy, social justice, and protecting mother earth.

Shelley has so far only spoken with 5 of the 28 chiefs she hopes to speak with in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. However, she remains resolute and committed and they can use all the support they can get! If you are able to visit them and show your support, you are warmly welcomed. They could use firewood, propane, food (for their support team), financial contributions, and moral support as well! Be in touch with Marina Young (Shelley’s sister; also part of INM) at idlenomorehalifax@gmail.com.

Nation First!