First nations protesters block stretch of Highway 1 east of Winnipeg
Posted by Zig Zag
First Nations activists are blocking a portion of Highway 1 east of Winnipeg.
The protest is happening on the Trans-Canada Highway at Deacon’s Corner.
RCMP is now diverting traffic onto a service road that runs parallel to the Trans-Canada to move cars and trucks through the area. Reports say traffic was backed up for at least one kilometre.
A post on Red Power Media’s website said organizers want to bring awareness to youth suicides on First Nations in hopes of the Canadian government increasing its mental health services funding.
“Representatives from groups taking part are demanding the Liberal government increase the availability of mental health services on reserves and provide culturally appropriate resources for youth including in Manitoba,” a press release on Red Power Media reads.
The post also said the protest is to shed light on the deaths of several Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay, Ontario.
Protesters are from the American Indian Movement, Urban Warrior Alliance and Idle No More.
‘Good intent and with good spirits’: after 45-minute travel delays, protest on eastbound Trans-Canada ends
Drivers asked to sign petition to fight First Nations youth suicide crisis
CBC News, June 30, 2017
Activists demanding action on the First Nations youth suicide crisis stalled traffic trying to head east out of Winnipeg on the Trans-Canada Highway Friday afternoon.
About 50 protesters gathered on either side of the highway at Deacon’s Corner, speaking to drivers and handing out information on the youth suicide crisis gripping First Nations communities, before allowing them through.
The group of protesters, including adults and children, waved American Indian Movement flags and held a drum ceremony along the side of the highway shortly before 1:30 p.m. before moving out on to the highway. The protesters cleared the highway around 3 p.m.
The activists were also asking people to sign a petition addressed to federal Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett and Health Minister Jane Philpott.
“We need opportunities to identify where the priorities are needed, as well as equip the staffing with the funds that are necessary to intervene and prevent any more devastating losses to our communities,” said Vin Clarke of the Urban Warrior Alliance.
About seven RCMP officers are also there.
The Urban Warrior Alliance was joined by the American Indian Movement Canada and Idle No More, Clarke said.
Clarke said his group contacted the Manitoba and Canadian governments in 2016 as the First Nations communities of Attawapiskat and Cross Lake faced growing suicide crises.
“After we made those calls to the government, there was no action to help improve the wellness of our youth up north or their families,” he said.
Driver Devin De Ruyck waited 45 minutes as he tried to get to Steinbach, Man. Once he learned about what the group was protesting, he said he was supportive.
“I think it’s good. It’s a good message. It needs to be spread, it’s not spread enough,” he said.
Clarke was asked about the potential for hostility when blocking traffic on a busy highway, as Winnipeggers tried to head east to cottage country on Friday afternoon.
“But when we do something like this, we do it with good intent and with good spirits,” he said.
Posted on June 30, 2017, in Uncategorized and tagged American Indian Movement, direct action, Idle No More, Native blockade, native suicide, Urban Warrior Alliance, Winnipeg. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.