Native women urge Harper to meet with Spence
Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence speaks to reporters during a press conference outside her teepee on Victoria Island in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013. (Sean Kilpatrick / The Canadian Press)
Published Friday, January 18, 2013 1:29PM EST
OTTAWA -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper is being accused of fostering hatred of aboriginals across the country by failing to condemn racist reactions to the Idle No More movement.
Ellen Gabriel of the Indigenous Women of Turtle Island says there are strong and growing racial undertones to much of the reaction she has seen so far to the protests over aboriginal treaty rights.
And she says that kind of visceral reaction hasn't been seen in Canada since the Oka crisis in the 1990s.
Gabriel and Leanne Simpson delivered a letter to Harper, pleading with him and Gov. Gen. David Johnston to meet with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.
Spence is continuing a hunger protest that began on Dec. 11 to persuade Harper and Johnston to meet together with First Nations leaders to talk about the plight of aboriginal people.
On Thursday, chiefs from Ontario who have been among her most ardent supporters begged Spence to give up her protest.
Gabriel says a simple gesture from the prime minister to meet with Spence might end her liquids-only protest.