Hundreds of Native Americans staged a protest in the state of Minnesota against what they call was the “genocide” of the First Nations in Canada. The group ‘Idle No More’ held the gathering at the Mall of America in the city of Minneapolis on Saturday. The protesters accused Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper of violating treaties by appropriating the land and resources of aboriginal people.
Clyde Bellecourt, the founder and international director of the American Indian Movement, was also among the protesters.
“We have to look out for our own – what happens in Canada happens here and what happens here happens in Canada,” Bellecourt said.
The protesters also expressed solidarity with Theresa Spence, the chief of Attawapiskat First Nation in Northern Ontario, who has been on a hunger strike since December 11. Spence has demanded a meeting with Harper to discuss the plight and destitution of the First Nation people living in the affluent North American country.
Canadian tribes have shut down two highways and a railroad in order to bring attention to their plight.
Joshua Blakeney reports:
“What distinguished Canada from the United States. where there was overt militarized genocide, was that there was going to be a treaty system in Canada. And, many indigenous people made the treaty in good faith with the Crown – hoping that it would be respected. But, it seems that the Harper government doesn’t want to respect these treaties… and would rather allow the mining companies – oil and gas companies and so on – to go into indigenous territories (and often buy off the leadership) and despoil the resources in that area. It really comes down to the fact that Canada is a resource super-power, and these oil and gas companies don’t like it when the indigenous people get in the way of their lucrative profits. The Harper government seems to be representing the interests of those mining companies and other resource companies, rather than respect the supreme law of Canada.”