Over at Maclean’s blog Colby Cosh asks a bunch of interesting questions about Theresa Spence’s hunger-strike (ish) protest. I was inside Spence’s teepee yesterday, and I have a few answers.
The man to Spence’s immediate right is her spokesman, she told me. I do not know quite who he is. He did not speak, did not interfere with my interview with Spence.
The person in charge of Spence’s twitter account is a pleasant young man who is very much into cameras and social media. There are several people in Spence’s entourage, and most of them are security (against whom or what I don’t really know – there are no threats around her teepee and while media types are annoying, they’re not very dangerous).
I am not a doctor or a nurse so take this with the appropriate grain of salt. She told me she was feeling fine, and indeed she looked fine to me. But she did appear tired. I don’t know if that’s real or not, and if yes whether it’s related to her liquid diet (her hunger strike consists of drinking tea and fish broth).
Now obviously I’m not doing surveillance on the place and cannot say for sure whether she’s really living in that teepee and whether she’s fasting. But I can tell you the teepee is real – it’s just a big tent. It’s not insulated, the “door” is a flap that lets the cold air in, it’s right on the ground, with a sparse covering of evergreen. There are two beds, a bench, and a wood stove. The beds (one of which I sat on) look like they’d been slept in. There is one porta-potty outside.
I’m not a fan of this protest one bit. I find it annoying, unproductive, and slightly childish. But if – if – it is true that she is living in that teepee and not eating solid foods, I’m pretty sure it’s unpleasant.