Friday, December 21, 2012

Open Letter to Premier Wall to Utilize Influence with Harper to Meet with Chief Spence Immediately

December 21, 2012

The Honourable Brad Wall
Premier of Saskatchewan
226 Legislative Building
Regina, Saskatchewan

Dear Premier Wall:
You are Saskatchewan’s Premier Minister. As I know you know, minister means “servant”.

I believe leadership is about service as does Attawapiskat First Nation’s Chief Theresa Spence. I am inspired by her hunger strike, her willingness to suffer for her people.

I urge you to utilize your influence with Canada’s Prime Minister and ensure he meets immediately with Chief Spence, servant-to-servant, nation-to-nation. I will initiate a phoning campaign to follow-up on what my provincial leaders have done toward this essential meeting. The time to act is now.

I recently spoke with a reporter from the Ottawa Citizen and she called Saskatchewan a trail blazer in treaty awareness. Although treaty is a federal matter, I challenge all of us to be treaty advocates in our own communities and then take our grassroots movements to the national stage, just like the visionary people behind Idle No More with whom I march today and humbly present this letter.

I echo the letter sent to Prime Minister Harper by the United Church of Canada: As Assembly of First Nations national Chief Shawn Atleo said in his December 16 open letter, Chief Spence's hunger strike calls attention to "the dire conditions which many First Nations communities and peoples face," and protests "the disrespect and shameful treatment of First Nations by the Government of Canada."

We urge you to hear, as we do, the pain and determination that underlie Chief Spence's actions, and her statement that "I'm willing to die for my people because the pain is too much and it's time for the government to realize what (it's) doing to us." Her pain is shared by many Indigenous and their leaders, and by many, many non-Aboriginal Canadians who wish to end the legacy of colonization, inequality and abuse, and live in justice and right relations between mainstream Canada and the First Peoples.

We state clearly and unequivocally that we stand in solidarity with Chief Spence's statement that "Canada is violating the right of Aboriginal peoples to be self-determining and continues to ignore (their) constitutionally protected Aboriginal and treaty rights in their lands, waters, and resources."


Sheena Koops
Box 246, Fort Qu’Appelle, SK

CC:  Chief Theresa Spence, Attawapiskat First Nation; National Chief Shawn Atleo, Assembly of First Nations; Dan Bellegarde, Executive Director, Treaty Governance Office; and all Saskatchewan MLAs

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