Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence
Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:34AM GMT
A Canadian aboriginal chief, who is on a hunger strike to force a meeting with the prime minister, has backed out of the meeting.
Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence said in a statement issued on Wednesday that she would not attend the meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper scheduled for Friday, because Governor General David Johnston, who is a representative of Queen Elizabeth II, will not be taking part in it.
She stated that Johnston’s attendance “is integral when discussing inherent and treaty rights.”
“If the state of Canada continues to undermine and destroy the treaty relationship, what rights does Canada have to exist within our territories?” the statement added.
Danny Metatawabin, Spence’s spokesman, said Harper’s government does not take “indigenous peoples’ concerns seriously.”
Since December 11, Spence has been on a hunger strike to protest the poor living conditions of native communities in Canada, forcing Harper to accept to enter talks with a delegation of native leaders in early January.
In a report released on December 19, 2012, Amnesty International called on Canada to address human rights abuses in the country, particularly with respect to the rights of indigenous peoples.