FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 4, 2013
Shibogama community members on their way to Ottawa to show support for Chief Theresa Spence
SIOUX LOOKOUT – A delegation of approximately 50 people from the Shibogama First Nations Council communities of Kasabonika, Kingfisher Lake, Wapekeka, Wawakapewin, and Wunnumin Lake comprised of Chiefs, Elders, youth and community members will be on their way to Ottawa today to demonstrate their support for Attawapiskat’s Chief Theresa Spence.
Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is on day 25 of her hunger strike and continues to sit in her teepee on Victoria Island in Ottawa in hopes of receiving a positive response to a request for a meeting with PM Stephen Harper, the Governor General David Johnston and First Nations leaders including Spence to talk about the treaty relationship.
There is strong opposition from the communities to the Harper government’s omnibus Bill-45 that makes changes to the Indian Act and environmental laws. Concern for the rights and the survival of future generations of First Nations prompted the people of the Shibogama communities to travel to Ottawa to stand in solidarity with Chief Spence and her supporters.
“I believe that we, Indigenous Peoples of this land, were put on Mother Earth for a purpose. We were given our identity, our culture, our language, our traditions, values and way of life by Gitchi-Manitou,” Margaret Kenequanash, Shibogama First Nations Council Executive Director said. “We have inherent responsibilities given to us by him.”
“Canada is a successor state. We signed the treaty with the crown based on the spirit and intent understood by our people,” Kenequanash added. “We never relinquished our jurisdiction. We will continue to exercise our aboriginal and treaty rights based on our understandings of these treaties.”
On Friday evening, the Shibogama Elders will pray for continued strength for Chief Theresa Spence and those who have joined her. On Saturday afternoon, the Shibogama Chiefs will be issuing a statement from Ottawa regarding their position and support.
The majority of the delegation will remain in Ottawa with Chief Theresa Spence until Tuesday.