Grand Chief Verna Polson of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Council set up camp in a wigwam across from Parliament Hill on June 19, 2019, two days before National Indigenous Peoples Day.
Grand Chief Polson and her nation are demanding full partnership in the Indigenous Peoples Space at 100 Wellington St. in Ottawa. She began a hunger strike (including no water) at 12:00 a.m. on June 30 to press these demands.
Just over two years ago, the Canadian government announced that the former U.S. Embassy at 100 Wellington would become an Indigenous Peoples Space. Even though they are titleholders to the land, the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation have not been included in the project despite their repeated requests over the past two years to become full and equal partners in the space. This location is on unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin Nation.
The Council of Canadians stands in solidarity with Grand Chief Verna Polson in calling for the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation to be included in deciding the future of the Indigenous Peoples Space. Council of Canadians staff, board members and chapter activists have visited the site and met with Grand Chief Polson to express support.
By embarking on a hunger strike with no water, the Grand Chief is risking her life for the rights of her people. We have a responsibility to speak out and take action in support of the nation whose land many of us reside and organize on. The Council of Canadians recognizes that its office in Ottawa, and much of the work the organization carries out, is located on the unceded, unsurrendered territory of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation.
The Canadian government has an obligation under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to respect the right to Free, Prior, Informed Consent on decisions that impact the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation.
The Canadian government must take action now to ensure the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation is a full and equal partner in this important Indigenous space in its territory.