Indian Act Chiefs Act Up in Ottawa

First Nations chiefs demand to be heard

Try to force their way into the House

Indian Act chiefs attempt to enter House of Parliament in Ottawa (for 30 seconds...)

Indian Act chiefs attempt to enter House of Commons in Ottawa (for 30 seconds…)

By: Mia Rabson, Winnipeg Free Press, Dec. 5, 2012

OTTAWA — Chiefs from Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan tried to force their way onto the floor of the House of Commons on Tuesday, demanding a chance to be heard by the government.

Some mild pushing and shoving occurred as security guards stepped up to block access to the chamber, and after about 30 seconds, the chiefs backed down.

But Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said the chiefs are putting the government on notice the time for Ottawa to make unilateral decisions about First Nations is over.

“We’ve tried other means of communicating with this government,” he said. “This may not be the last time we do this.”

About 250 chiefs and First Nations representatives left a special chief’s assembly of the Assembly of First Nations across the river in Gatineau, Que., to bring their protest to Parliament Hill.

Chiefs are angry about a number of bills passed or introduced by the government or individual MPs that directly affect First Nations.

That includes legislation forcing chiefs and councillors to make their salaries public, a bill that would slowly eradicate the Indian Act and the omnibus budget bill, which amends a number of environmental protections and fisheries that affect First Nations.

The budget bill was being voted on in a marathon session Tuesday and is expected to pass third reading and be sent to the Senate today.

After being invited into the building by NDP MP Charlie Angus, the chiefs first confronted Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver in the foyer outside the House of Commons, peppering him with questions about the taking of resources on First Nations land.

When they tried to follow him into the chamber, they were stopped by a wall of security guards.

“You’re not going to accomplish anything by rushing into the Parliament’s chamber,” one guard told them.

The chiefs quickly backed down, but issued a warning.

“OK, that’s fine. Try coming onto our territory sometime then. You’ve drawn the line,” said one chief.

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee then turned to the cameras.

“What a pile of crap we just heard,” he said.

Madahbee said Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised partnership at the Crown-First Nations gathering last January, then immediately “jetted off to sell our resources to the world. He’s constantly doing that.”

“Sweeping the floor while some company from an international body takes billions out of our territory is not the answer to the poverty in our communities,” Madahbee said.


Posted on December 6, 2012, in Indian Act Indians and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. lara harlow-hentz

    It’s time for this…

  2. Parliament hill… Is on native land…

    Miigwetch to our Chiefs. It’s time.

  3. Civil disobedience will dig the native hole a lot quicker and will cause more problems than it is worth. Confront them at election time and ask them what they plan to do that they are not telling you. The government in no way was given the mandate to raise the age of pension, selling our natural resources and allowing jobs to be out sourced to other countries and many other pains to the Canadian people not just natives.

  4. its definitely time for this, amazing how arrogant Ottawa is to these situations. I guess no citizen of our country can simply show up and ask questions of our so-called leaders…….Ive said it many times before, Democracy is a LIE!!!!


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