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Hunger strike, Bill C-45 galvanize First Nations

The Idle No More movement arrived in Sudbury on Dec.
From babes in arms to university students and elders, local First Nations people converged on downtown Sudbury on Dec. 21 to show their opposition to sections of the federal omnibus budget bill. Photo by Marg Seregelyi.

The Idle No More movement arrived in Sudbury on Dec. 21, as First Nations communities from across Northern Ontario marched in downtown Sudbury to protest federal government legislation that removes environmental protections of thousands of lakes in Canada.

The 400-strong crowd also was there to support Attawapiskat First Nations Chief Theresa Spence, who is on a hunger strike until she gains a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

“I’m just here for the children, for Theresa Spence, for all our people, for First Nations across Canada,” said Sarah Assinewe of Wikwemikong, who came to the march with her sister, her daughter and her nephew. “She’s a woman and she’s showing her strength and she’s sacrificing for her people. In times like this, it’s so important that someone is able to do that for us.

“We have to give our support to her, and that’s why it’s important to be in places like this today.”

The Idle No More movement has gained momentum in First Nations across Canada. In part, it’s a response to the federal government’s omnibus budget Bill C-45, which, among other things, removes environmental protections of waterways and makes it easier to sell reserve lands to private corporations.