17 days later, Indigenous woman’s hunger strike ongoing
Alma Kakikepinace started her hunger strike last month
CBC News, October 7, 2016
It’s been 17 days since Alma Kakikepinace ate a good meal or slept in a real bed.
But the 53-year-old resident of Sagkeeng First Nation said she’s willing to wait much longer before she gives up on her stand to improve housing on First Nations in Canada.
Kakikepinace has been on a hunger strike, living out of a makeshift camp hung with tarps and blankets, for more than two weeks. Temperatures are dropping, and Kakikepinace said she’s no closer to achieving her immediate goal of being granted a house in her community.
But she said her commitment hasn’t wavered.
‘Maybe they’re waiting for me to die’
Kakikepinace began her strike last month, after four years living in part of a trailer blown off its foundation by a tornado years ago without running water or a working toilet, surrounded by black mold.
She said she’s been promised a house on the First Nation for years without any action, and began the strike as a “call of arms.” But 17 days later, she still doesn’t have a home.
Kakikepinace is diabetic, and lives with pain, tremors and trouble seeing. She’s been visited by a nurse and friends are coming by in the night to keep her fire going for warmth.
Asked how long she’s willing to keep it up, she said, “Until I die.”
“This week I’m starting to think, maybe they’re waiting for me to die,” she said. “Maybe that’s how they want this to go away.”
“I kind of have a strange feeling it won’t happen,” she said. “Everyone around me is in doubt about this physical body expiring.”
Kakikepinace said she’s not just out there to solve her own housing problem.
“I’m not only speaking for myself, but all the First Nations together of people who are suffering under the system,” she said.
Sagkeeng First Nation is located on the Winnipeg River, about 20 kilometres east of Victoria Beach.