Photographer: Adrian Wyld
Drummers in front of Parliament in downtown Ottawa on Friday, January 11, 2013 as Idle No More demonstrations took place coast to coast. Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper met in Ottawa with some First Nations leaders while others refused to attend as the Harper government had excluded the Governor General, whose attendance is part of original treaty relationships.
The scene outside the parliament building:
From the Ottawa march:
From the march in Montreal,
An example of smaller places such as Kitchener, Ontario,
or London, Ontario on January 10th,
the last song sung in Montreal,
More here from around Canada from the Global Edmonton. January 11th protesters also blocked highways and rail lines.
Chief Theresa Spence gave a press conference (video below) reaffirming the decision by a number of chiefs not to attend the meeting with the Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper because the Governor General was not present as required by treaty relationships. She expressed objections to what she described as the Harper government's use of personal attacks on her through the media, as well as the ongoing environmental and economic issues faced by First Nations people and ignored by the Canadian government. She said that First Nations deserve better housing, health care, and revenue sharing, and that the government has been raping the earth and abusing First Nations peoples. Chief Spence is continuing her fast (started December 11th) while maintaining her insistence on a meeting with both political heads of state, and while subsisting on a diet of fish broth and water.
In a play on Shakespeare, Canadian Interim liberal leader Bob Rae called the Harper government's relations with First Nations a "tragedy of errors" in that indigenous leaders are unable to arrange something even as simple as a meeting with both the Prime Minister and the Governor General.
Chief Perry Belegarde, who also refused to attend the meeting in solidarity with Chief Spence, spoke about the importance of unity and the importance of standing together to rise out of poverty.
Further Idle No More actions are planned for Monday, January 28th, 2013 in a World Day Of Actions.
Photo credit/Global Edmonton/Idle No More protester lies down on track to block CN Rail, illegally crossing First Nations property on the way to chemical and refinery plants.