Chris Hall, CBC News. Discussion »
The strongest image from Friday's meeting between Stephen Harper and the Assembly of First Nations didn't come from inside the room where the prime minister met with a small delegation of chiefs.
It came from outside, where hundreds of band members massed in front of the prime minister's office building demanding he come out in the rain to negotiate with them.
For many, the rally in front of Langevin Block was more than just a protest.
It was a poignant expression of how so many First Nations people find themselves on the outside looking in, when the relationship between them and the federal government, as defined by history, is supposed to be one of equals.
The standoff on Parliament Hill added to the crisis atmosphere, or what interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae called the "tragedy of errors," leading up to this meeting and which makes it so hard to conclude anything positive can emerge.
Instead of focusing on an agenda to address the pressing social needs faced by too many people living on reserves, instead of assessing what concrete measures could be taken to make First Nations more true partners in Canada's future, the meeting simply became a backdrop to the threat of more protests, blockades and an ever deepening rift between individual chiefs, and between First Nations and the federal government. Read More »
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posted January 12, 2013 10:20 am est