Angry protesters force Phil Fontaine off university stage

Fontaine's speech disrupted at University of Winnipeg event, Jan 22, 2014.

Fontaine’s speech disrupted at University of Winnipeg event, Jan 22, 2014.

Phil Fontaine’s speaking engagement at University of Winnipeg rescheduled

CBC News, Jan 22, 2014

Angry protesters took over a planned talk by First Nations leader Phil Fontaine in Winnipeg on Wednesday, resulting in the rescheduling of the event.

Fontaine was scheduled to speak at the University of Winnipeg in the early afternoon on First Nations issues in the past, present and future.

But loud protesters crowded the area almost immediately after he began speaking, some armed with anti-oil sands signs, others with drums and some with their faces painted red and black.

Fontaine, a former Assembly of First Nations chief, accepted a job with TransCanada Pipeline, a natural gas and oil pipeline developer in December.

Protesters were angry he took the job, saying he isn’t representing their interests and isn’t thinking of the environment.

“How dare you, Phil!” charged protester Jo Seenie. “On your own people? Anishinaabe people? How dare you sell us out to work for the enemy that’s destroying this earth?”

One protester had her phone knocked from her hands during the confrontation, while others beat drums loudly as Fontaine tried to speak.

University of Winnipeg President Lloyd Axworthy said he hasn’t seen a protest like this at the university in a very long time.

Part of the crowd assembled to disrupt Fontaine's speech, Jan 22, 2014, at the University of Winnipeg.

Part of the crowd assembled to disrupt Fontaine’s speech, Jan 22, 2014, at the University of Winnipeg.

“I think it was orchestrated. I think they came deliberately to disrupt and that was the plan,” said Axworthy. “I think they were looking for confrontation not for conversation.”

Later in the afternoon, Axworthy released a full statement about the events, calling them disruptive and regretful.

“Frankly, they don’t know what they’re talking about,” he said.

Fontaine said he was saddened by the confrontation and added he believes he does stand up for the environment and First Nations.

“Have I been satisfied with everything that I’ve learned? Absolutely not. Have I expressed those views with industry? Absolutely,” he said. “[The protest] was not one of our shining moments as an aboriginal community.”

Some students were also disappointed with the result.

“He shouldn’t have cancelled this meeting, you know. We came here to ask him these grilling questions that need to be answered, and they weren’t answered today,” said U of W student Sadie Lavoie.

University officials said the event would be rescheduled to a later date.

Posted on January 22, 2014, in Indian Act Indians and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Reblogged this on The Uncontrollable Ones.

  2. Seen as treason … Betrayed by loyality, On the contrary, it’s a heavy heart he will be carrying … This will be judged by the good spirit when his spirit is too tired and ashamed … And shame it will be… I not only send bad karma his way but hope he feels the pain of his ppl … All nations is one nation as the drum beats he will no longer hear it’s beauty as it will be soundless …like a deaf mute … That will be his sin !

  3. Former AFN National Chief, Phil Fontaine, silenced by thundering drums. With Fontaine working for TransCanada Pipelines, he obviously has the companies interest in mind. After all, I doubt that he has ever excercised his Treaty right to pick berries or ever hunted the caribou in his life.

  4. Del Ashkewe Why not quiz Shawn Atleo. the present national chief of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN). Since the AFN based on the make up of its membership, is in fact a federally instituted multinational corporation with transnational rights. As its membership is composed of representatives of every indigenous tribal nation in Canada, with national territories that extend into the USA. The national chiefs of the AFN are not elected by the common non-native people, therefore they are not obligated in law to protect the national and human rights of their people. The transnational rights of multinational corporation are recognized by world organizations and corporate elite as paramount to the human and national rights of the citizens of any given country in international law. The chief and administrators of the AFN are obligated to protect the transnational rights of multinational corporations and not the rights of their people. peace.

  1. Pingback: Oilsands benefit First Nations | Warrior Publications

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