Thursday, January 03, 2013

Denver Idle No More Calls Out the Canadian Prime Minister via Letter

Hat Tip AK48

Denver Idle No More Calls Out the Canadian Prime Minister via Letter

Carol Berry
January 02, 2013

Despite drumming, Round Dancing and megaphoned speeches far below its lofty offices in Denver, the Consulate General of Canada remained silent December 31 about the First Nations’ indigenous rights concerns expressed in a local rally that drew about 100 people in support of the continent-wide Idle No More movement.

Because of widespread preparation for New Year’s Eve, consulate offices closed at noon to the general public, but Ladan Amirazizi, consul and senior trade commissioner, accepted a letter she said she would convey to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper on behalf of Idle supporters in Denver’s Indian community. She did not comment on concerns raised in the rally or in the letter signed by Denver-area residents and others.

The letter said that Harper and his government would be held personally responsible should Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation be permanently or fatally injured as a result of her hunger strike that began December 11 to force a meeting on indigenous rights with Harper. It also pointed to issues raised by First Nations continent-wide.

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After about two hours of dancing and listening in 20-degree weather, most of the Round Dance participants crowded into the lobby of the consulate building where security guards said a consular official would come to receive the letter.

Tessa McLean, Anishinaabe First Nation, gave the letter to Amirazizi for Harper. Amirazizi told her the consulate had closed at noon but if she, as a Canadian, had concerns, she would talk with her at greater length; McLean responded that she was there as part of the support for Idle No More, and she and other rally participants left the building.

“It’s international, it’s sparked support from unions and other groups political and non-political, and it’s brought out folks who normally wouldn’t go out to such events,” e-mailed Kim Cameron, Anishinabe Long Plain First Nation, who has worked in Denver. “It warms the heart and spirit to see the unity. But what is sad is that as Chief Theresa Spence weakens, the resolve to stand up for what is right strengthens.”

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