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Attwapiskat protesters arrive in Ottawa

Protesters say both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo have failed to respect First Nations' treaties.
Cassie Aylward, CFRA News

Their journey took them 49 days, and saw them travel 1,700 km. 

A group of protesters from Attawapiskat First Nation arrived on Parliament Hill Monday afternoon, demanding immediate government action on broken treaties.

Speaking about a number of issues, the walkers performed traditional chants and drum music as they made their way down Metcalfe Street toward the Peace Tower.

One of the walkers, Brian Okimaw, says the journey was a spiritual one. He says the issue of treaty rights is the most prominent to him.

"Our grandfathers signed those treaties," he says. "In the 100 years since the treaties have been signed our people have been suffering."

He says the broken treaties have resulted in a plethora of issues for Aboriginal peoples including poor education, poor housing, and missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

The protesters say both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Assembly of First Nations Chief Shawn Atleo have turned a blind eye to their communities.

Sue Martin waited downtown for the Attawapiskat protesters.  She says it's important to her to support these and all similar protests.

"They're walking for our treaty rights which were taken away and it's about time we got them back," she says.

Martin's daughter, Terrie Ann Dauphnais, was murdered 12 years ago.  Martin attends and speaks at a number of rallies on Aboriginal issues and missing and murdered Aboriginal women.

Okimaw says he hopes more Canadians understand the issues facing First Nations' peoples after their walk.

"My people have been suffering in pain and this is why we raise awareness to all Canadian people."

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