Friday, December 21, 2012

Open Letter to Prime Minister Harper to Meet Chief Spence -- Servant to Servant, Nation to Nation

December 21, 2012

The Right Honourable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
House of Commons,
Ottawa, Ontario
Fax: 613-941-6900

Dear Prime Minister Harper:
You are Canada’s Prime 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. 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."

I urge you to meet immediately with Chief Spence, servant-to-servant, nation-to-nation.

I echo the letter sent by the United Church 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

Chief Theresa Spence, Attawapiskat First Nation; National Chief Shawn Atleo,
Assembly of First Nations; Hon. Thomas Mulcair, New Democratic Party of
Canada; Hon. Bob Rae, Liberal Party of Canada;
Daniel Paillé, Bloc Quebecois;
Elizabeth May, Green Party of Canada

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