Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence has announced she will end the liquid fast that she began on December 11 in protest of federal and Crown policies toward First Nations and other aboriginals.
“Chief Theresa Spence and Elder Raymond Robinson have agreed to end their hunger strikes based on the commitments outlined and endorsed in a Declaration of Commitment supported by the Assembly of First Nations National Executive Committee, Native Women’s Association of Canada, NDP National Caucus and Liberal Party of Canada Parliamentary Caucus,” said the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in a statement on the afternoon of January 23.
Spence had been holding out for a meeting between First Nations leaders, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Crown representative Governor General David Johnston. The two officials had met with First Nations leaders on January 11 but separately. Spence continued her hunger strike, dissatisfied with what she felt was a lack of nation-to-nation regard for First Nations rights.
Lately First Nations leaders and others have been urging Spence to stop protesting, saying that her goal had been accomplished when Harper came to the table (even though he didn’t mention her or Idle No More, the grassroots movement that erupted across the country and beyond at around the same time as Spence’s strike began). Reports surfaced that her health was beginning to deteriorate.
Spence is scheduled to end her fast on January 24, the day that First Nations chiefs from across the country are meeting in Vancouver. The AFN said more details would be forthcoming.