First Nations elder explains why he interjected on Trudeau’s behalf at Winnipeg town hall


Welcome to Winnipeg, Prime Minister! As Trudeau delivers a sermon, a woman holds an anti-pipeline sign behind him during a “town hall” meeting in Winnipeg, Jan 26, 2017.

‘Please respect everybody’ elder Ernie Daniels said as protesters interrupted PM at Thursday’s town hall

By Jillian Taylor, CBC News, Jan 27, 2017

An elder from the Long Plain First Nation says he can’t believe he made the news for speaking up when protesters interrupted the prime minister’s town hall in Winnipeg on Thursday.

“I was just playing the role as an elder, mediator, mitigator — make things flow, in a nice way,” said Ernie Daniels.

Justin Trudeau took questions from the crowd at Thursday afternoon’s town hall, and at around the 20 minute mark a question was asked about pipelines.

That was when three women holding signs stood up behind the prime minister and started protesting. When a group started yelling “keep it in the ground,” Trudeau thanked the protesters for sharing their perspective and asked them to allow him to continue speaking.


Ernie Daniels (left, along with his son and late mother) met Justin Trudeau in 2013 in Portage la Prairie, Man. (Ernie Daniels)

After another interruption and another exchange between the women on stage and the prime minister, Daniels stood up.

Trudeau handed him the microphone and said, “I don’t know if she’ll listen to you, she won’t listen to me.”

“I’m an elder of Treaty 1 territory. Our treaty has allowed you people to come to our territories,” said Daniels.

“So I’m asking that you people that are making statements, please respect everybody, please respect our territory.” His statements were followed by applause from the crowd.


Protesters at Trudeau’s event in Winnipeg hold anti-pipeline and UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) signs, Jan 26, 2017.

Daniels said he agrees with the message of the protesters, but not their methods. He said he didn’t intend to publicly shame the young protesters, just defuse the situation.

“First of all, there is such a thing as respect, dialogue and a democratic setting,” he explained. “There is no need for anyone to yell or scream or interfere.”

Daniels said he was sitting with Brokenhead Chief Jim Bear during the town hall. He said as two elders, they felt obliged to do something. He said he also wanted to make a statement about Indigenous people.

“I wanted the prime minister to hear this, that we are treaty people, we signed treaties with the Crown and they are safe passages for you people to come settle in our territory,” he said.

“We didn’t go to war with you, we didn’t make a war and peace treaty, it was passage for you to come in our territory and live with us, co-exist, and that was based on respect.”

During the interview, the elder offered a piece of advice to protesters.

“I would encourage those protesters to do what so many of the Indigenous people are doing and go out on the front lines and protest where the problem is, not in a town hall meeting.”

Posted on January 27, 2017, in Oil & Gas and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Actually, protest on the front line, is not the first step within our protocol. Discussing issues is the first step. Town hall is exactly the place to do it. That colonials can dismiss and refuse to solve issues with the people, is not our problem. Many domesticated elders have become a barrier to the decolonization of indigenous peoples. An appropriate response would have been to point out that the youth are correct. In order to meet climate targets, no new extraction can take place. This colonial leader was once a teacher. I presume teachers have a basic understanding of math. The math says, no new extraction. If the colonial leader can not commit to the international treaty he has signed, the town hall is a settler PR love in. See you on the front line!

  2. There is no my air, my water, my territory. Global Warming fossil fuel fracking is Death. Respect What ? The elder gives away Respect.

    • Trudeau has been heard and heard and heard and there is there not a limit to what defines “respect”, if a so called leader (many did not choose him and this system of choosing is absolutely flawed and more know it ) this leader whom we also now know is simply a puppet mostly needs to be pushed into the healthy direction; First Nations generally get no respect over and over, what do we do, what did we do in the past? Did we ever allow such lies to be spewed over and over and such deadly affects as well? Did we ever grovel? We are possibly at the biggest “watershed moment” and, I believe strongly that all elders from all nations ought consider how critical the need may jsut be for supporting Diversity of Tactics or, we may not make it.

  3. Maybe Trudeau Needs To just Listen and learn how to respond with actions! “Trudeau handed him the microphone and said, “I don’t know if she’ll listen to you, she won’t listen to me.”” Start Listening Trudeau, we been asking nice for a long time now…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: