NWAC Calls Upon the Government of Canada to meet with Chief Theresa Spence to end the Hunger Strikes

Ottawa, ON (December 19, 2012) – The Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) strongly urges Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General David Johnston to meet with Chief Theresa Spence, who has been fasting since December 11. 2012, along with other Elders who have since began fasting to lend their support.

On Tuesday, Chief Spence issued a statement again calling on the Prime Minister and the Governor General to agree to a meeting with First Nations leaders from across the country to discuss the Treaties and the many proposed legislative changes. Chief Spence has not yet received a commitment to have this meeting from the Government of Canada.
 
NWAC expresses great concern for Chief Spence’s health and well-being, including that of her family and the community members of Attawapiskat. As the Cheyenne saying goes, “A People is not defeated until the hearts of our women are on the ground.” NWAC acknowledges the courage displayed by Chief Spence in this movement, offers her their full support for the cause but hopes the Government will meet with Aboriginal leaders before we have another tragedy.
 
In an interview on Wednesday with APTN, Chief Spence stated, “There has been enough talk, enough politics, now is the time to develop action plans,” She also asked that, “All First Nations leaders and communities across Canada stand united and in solidarity in advancing this urgent call for action and attention.” To demonstrate her support, President Audette stayed overnight with Chief Spence and will walk from Victoria Island to Parliament Hill as part of the “Idle No More” rally on Friday, December 21, 2012.
 
Support has been overwhelming from First Nations, organizations, unions, and Canadians across the country. “Idle No More” supporters are sending letters, phoning the Prime Minister’s Office and asking that he “find it in [his] heart to grant Chief Spence a meeting and let her go home for the holidays.”  NWAC is urging the Government to come to a quick and peaceful resolution.
 
Michèle Audette, the President of NWAC stated, “We are in strong support of our sister Chief Spence. In the spirit of solidarity, we too must be willing to do what it takes to create a better future for all Canadians. If there is to be meaningful change, there needs to be collective responsibility and a nation-wide movement to address the many crises being faced by Aboriginal Peoples.”
 
 
For additional information please contact:
Claudette Dumont-Smith
NWAC Executive Director
Toll free 1-800-461-4043
Tel.: 613-722-3033 x. 223
 
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