A growing First Nations campaign that’s demanding a conversation with the federal government about treaty rights is set to culminate in a mass march on Parliament Hill on Friday.
The rally, which is being billed as a peaceful demonstration but could feature thousands of protesters, comes just more than two weeks after aboriginal leaders protested the government’s budget bill in Ottawa, including measure to eradicate certain federal environmental protections.
On Dec. 4, security guards confronted First Nations chiefs when they tried to enter the chamber of the House of Commons. Leaders said they were “serving notice” to government.
The building Idle No More movement has since rallied in several Canadian cities.
Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence claims to have launched a hunger strike to call for a meeting between First Nations leaders and Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
The government says Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan is willing to meet Spence but she’s declined, demanding Harper meet with leaders.
Harper has not signalled he is willing to do that.
“The prime minister hosted an historic gathering of the Crown and First Nations this past January. Since then, the government has been working with First Nations leadership to make progress in several areas,” said Carl Vallee, a spokesman for Harper.
In a recent letter to the federal government, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo also raised concerns about a lack of progress in the last year.