Maritime First Nations communities support hunger strike
Published Friday, December 28, 2012 6:38PM AST
People in at least two Maritime First Nations communities are going hungry this weekend as part of the latest showing of support in the Idle No More movement.
The movement opposes federal Omnibus Bill C-45, which many aboriginal people feel is a threat to their lands and their treaty rights.
Eskasoni First Nation band councillor Barry Francis is supporting his chief in his hunger strike. Chief Leroy Denny and several others in Canada’s second largest Mi’kmaq community have been fasting since Thursday at noon.
They plan to go without food until Monday as part of the nationwide protest.
“Everybody in this community is talking about it,” says Francis. “Everyone is really excited and hopefully this action they’re taking will be for the betterment of our people.”
Employees at a local grocery store say they are behind the hunger strikers.
“We’re not only doing this for aboriginal people,” says Donna Doucette. “We’re doing it for non-natives too, know what I mean? For fishing, to make sure our lakes are alright and everything.”
The hunger strikers did not want to be interviewed, saying their fast is a spiritual ritual that they don’t want to interrupt. They did say some of them are already feeling weak after hitting the 24-hour mark of the 96-hour ordeal.
Victoria Peters is supporting those taking part in the fast and keeping a close eye on their health.
“It is a huge sacrifice for any person, but for these people, it’s what they believe in,” says Peters. “It’s their culture.”
The fasts are being done in support of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence who is in her third week of a hunger strike. She says she’ll continue until Prime Minister Stephen Harper agrees to meet with her.
“I think what Theresa Spence is doing is very commendable,” says Francis. “And I believe we will eventually get the results that we need as First Nations people in this country.”
A similar community fast in support of Idle No More is going until Monday on Nova Scotia’s Millbrook First Nation.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald