“I pray that this fast doesn’t last too long as four days without food is becoming painful for us”
MARCH 1ST 2013 commenced a second wave of Idle No More hunger strikes, lead by Idle No More organizer Shelley Young, a member of Eskasoni First Nation and Jean Sock, a member of the New Brunswick reservation Elsipogtog; both are only consuming water. They are also joined in their fast by a citizens assembly in the Mi’kmaq community comprised of members from each of the neighboring provinces.
They fast in protest of Harper lead framework agreements signed by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs in February without community consultation. These agreements, known as the Made in Nova Scotia Process, and the Made in New Brunswick Process, compromise Mi’kmaq treaty rights under the premise of economic opportunity for a few.
“My mom left us less than a year ago and she always told me “stand up for what you truly believe in tus”. I believe that our treaties are the core of our identity, our ancestors fought and died for them. I don’t feel our leaders have the right to negotiate them and to modernize them for quick money”, Shelley Young said.
“They’ve gotten millions out of the negotiation process already and what have our people gained from it? Every single one of them including their staff at [Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office] make six figure salaries while 90% of our population is left with poorest treaty benefits. It’s time now for our leaders to put their nation first and to put down the greed.”
Jean and Shelley represent the communities who feel they have not yet been consulted about this process, and feel that their current leadership should not be dealing with a federal government who has openly disregarded First Nation’s treaties with the passing of Bill C-45, which they say is a direct assault on Aboriginal communities and land designated for sale by Mi’kmaq leadership along with the Harper government to major oil and mining companies.
The Fast is due to continue until a majority opts out of the process or is willing to halt the process until the Harper government is no longer in office.
Victory on the Horizon!
In a message today from Shelley Young, “After listening to everyone’s concerns last night and seeing actual government documents that prove our leaders are in fact signing away our treaty rights through the Made in Nova Scotia Process, Chief Rufus Copage and council of Indianbrook First Nation have signed a BCR today to opt out of KMKNO [Kwilmu’kw Maw-klusuaqn Negotiation Office] and the framework agreement. So proud of you Chief Rufus and council, thank you so much for putting your people first and taking a stand for our children and grandchildren.”
“If I had more energy now I’d be doing a happy dance from hearing the news”
This is a real victory for the fasters, and we at Kolonialq congratulate the Mi’kma’ki leadership who are listening and responding to the concerns of their citizens. This is a world of difference from the first wave of hunger strikes, in which Canadian leadership [PM Harper and the Governor General] ignored the pleas of Attawapiskat Chief Spence, her fellow hunger strikers (including Jean Sock at the time), and the voices of thousands.
Young continued, “We also had a good visit with Chief Bob Gloade of Millbrook last night and I know in his heart that he has the best interest of his people. I pray his council follows through. We have 12 other chiefs signed into the process here in Nova Scotia, please leaders come out to hear our concerns and to get the whole picture. If I had more energy now I’d be doing a happy dance from hearing the news lol, thanks again Chief Rufus, you’re a true a leader.”
We hope that the other Chiefs who signed into the framework agreements will follow Chief Rufus’s example. In a statement Monday, Shelley plead, “I pray that this fast doesn’t last too long as four days without food is becoming painful for us. I ask the grandmothers and mothers for help and all the warriors out there to come here and help us. We should be home taking care of our families instead of starving for our chiefs to listen to our people. My baby girl is only 2 and Jean’s mom is suffering with cancer. Push them and demand them to sign out of this process, your voice has more power than you realize. Don’t wait until it’s too late.”
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UPDATE: Chief Terry Paul has also resigned from KMNKO!