Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo (file photo)
Fri Jan 4, 2013 11:19AM GMT
The grand chief of the First Nations in Canada has called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet with the community’s leaders over their rights concerns.
Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo made the request on Thursday, saying that the natives across the country have been voicing “concern and frustration with a broken system that does not address long-standing disparities between First Nations and the rest of Canada, and address priorities in ways that will provide for long-term solutions and sustainability.”
“There is no excuse for inaction,” Atleo stated, extending an “urgent invitation” to Harper to have a meeting with him and other chiefs on January 24.
Atleo further pointed to the rising anger among the natives after Ottawa made some changes to environmental and other laws last month.
The natives argue that the changes will have negative influence on their fishing and hunting rights among other issues concerning their rights.
First Nations activists have so far staged dozens of protests and blocked railways on several occasions in an attempt to demand better rights for the natives.
Meanwhile, a First Nations activist who is currently on hunger strike has called for “country-wide economic disturbances” in case Harper does not pay attention to the concerns of the natives.
On December 21, 2012, the natives held demonstrations in Ottawa and several other cities to call for the protection of their rights.
First Nations leaders denounced the policies of the Canadian government vis-a-vis the natives as oppressive.