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Winter March to Honor the Treaties

Members of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation are marching 450 kilometers from Toronto to Ottawa in support of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence who is on day twenty-three of a hunger strike aimed at convincing Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Crown to agree to a treaty meeting with First Nations. The march started at Queen’s Park this morning and I joined it for a stretch along Bloor St, across the Don River and down Danforth Avenue.

Mark T. Anderson is one of the KI members that is making the journey in solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence’s call for recognition and implementation of the treaty commitments. Walking long distances to draw attention to injustice is nothing new for Mark who made a 2100 kilometer march in 2006 against mining exploration on KI lands in Northern Ontario. He is accompanied by members of KI’s leadership and community youth. They expect to take a little over a week to walk all the way to Ottawa.

From a press release issued by the group today:

‘The Harper government wants to continue to violate the treaty commitments through Bill C-45, which will negatively impact our peoples, lands, waters, and environment. The Crown pledged to honor the commitments they made at treaty time, ‘for as long as the sun shines, the waters flow, and the grass grows…. God’s creation was used to entice our people to sign on to treaty # 9 at KI, now Canada, through the actions of the Harper government, wants to continue to violate the treaty commitments through Bill C-45, which will negatively impact our peoples, lands, waters, and environment…. The treaty promises made are very powerful, especially using God’s creation to relate the solemnity and the sacredness of these commitments. By reneging and making a mockery through the continued violations of the treaty, Canada is putting the lives of our people and all Canadians on dangerous ground.”

The full media release can be read at http://www.kitchenuhmaykoosib.com/

To tell the Prime Minister he must meet with Chief Spence, you can e-mail him at pm@pm.gc.ca or stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca. His telephone number in Ottawa is 613-992-4211, and his constituency office in Calgary is 403-253-7990.