Chief Spence Continues Hunger Strike for Meeting PM

At the end of the first-day of aboriginal protests, the hunger-striking Chief of Attawapiskat First Nation, Chief Theresa Spence, has once again urged the prime minister and Canada’s governor general to arrange a meeting. Chief published an open letter on Thursday addressing Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston, requesting them to address the national issue regarding the state of poverty among aboriginal communities.

Spence initiated her hunger strike on Dec. 11, as a means of spreading awareness regarding First Nations communities, who are facing poor conditions, in spite of assurances from the government about progress being made to improve poverty. She wrote in her letter, that “land and natural resources continue to be reaped by the federal and provincial governments through taxation of corporate resource companies with little compensation to First Nations for use of our traditional territories.” She mentioned that “trilateral discussions and financial action plans must be committed to in order to alleviate the existing state of poverty.” Spence previously acknowledged on Wednesday that she is feeling weakness and other effects of the hunger strike, as she reached the ninth day of her strike.

The spokesman of Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan, Jason MacDonald, expressed his frustration on Thursday, alleging that he is unable to speak with Spence. He claimed that “since she began her hunger strike the minister has expressed his concern for Chief Spence’s health and he has indicated several times his willingness to meet with or talk to her.” He added that “unfortunately, he has been unable to reach the chief, and her colleagues have been unwilling or unable to share an alternate phone number where she might be reached.”

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