Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Challenges. Discussion »
OTTAWA, ONTARIO While others spent their holidays with their families and friends, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence has spent the past the past four weeks on a hunger strike.
Bonnie Sanderson, Chief Spence and Ceclia Begg
on Victoria Island yesterday.
"She is determined" is the official response to the media when asked about her condition.
Vowing to die unless the government begins to show more respect for aboriginal treaties, Chief Spence began her hunger strike on December 11.
Today is the beginning of Week Five for Chief Spence of her hunger strike. It is the fifth week of going without eating and living the teepee on Victoria Island, a short distance from Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada's capital city. She only drinks water, herbal tea and broth.
Chief Spence plans to attend this Friday's meeting Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced last Friday. He is meeting with Assembly of First Nations chiefs and leaders in Ottawa.
She has vowed to keep her hunger strike going pending the outcome of Friday's meeting.
Yesterday, Chief Spence spent Day 28 of her hunger strike inside the teepee on Monday and did not leave it due to not feeling well, according to an unnamed source from the island.
"Chief Spence is positively overwhelmed with the support and unity that Indigenous Peoples and supporters have displayed over this past month in her hunger strike," according to a news release issued on Monday by the Attawapiskat First Nation.
Since she began her fast, others have joined the hunger strike throughout various parts of Canada.
“We must honor these efforts by seeking spiritual help and direction collectively at what will be seen as one of the most critical times that Indigenous Peoples have ever known on Turtle Island,”
commented Chief Spence yesterday.
On Monday, she greeted long walkers from the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, based northwest of Thunder Bay. Last Wednesday seven long walkers from the nation began a journey from Queens Park in Toronto to Parliament Hill to demonstrate their support of the Chief Spence's hunger strike. The long walkers had two support staff that accompanied them in a vehicle on the 449 kilometers or 278 mile journey through snowy conditions.
“The way she received us was very overwhelming for someone who has gone without food as she has for as long as she has,”
said John Cutfeet, the spokesperson for the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation long walkers, who was a long walker in the group.
“She was very compassionate to us. It was very moving,”
commented Cutfeet to the Native News Network.
“My feeling was she is a very strong lady, who has not taken food during this hunger fast, but she still was able to show compassion. As she interacted with the walkers, she showed nothing but kindness,”
Cutfeet was impressed Chief Spence spent time with each long walker in the long walker's party.
Chief Spence's camp welcomes all people and dignitaries to Victoria Island, but is requesting that visitors come after 1 pm daily.
There will be no visitations scheduled for Thursday, January 10 in preparation for Friday's meeting with Prime Minister Harper.
Leading to Friday's meeting, Indigenous women, elders, knowledge and faith keepers will seek sacred instructions rooted in inherent rights and responsibilities by returning to ceremony and protocol in the spirit of hope, humanity and the 8th Fire, according to the news release.
photo credit KI First Nation
posted January 8, 2013 7:30 am est