Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

First Nations chiefs demand to be heard

Try to force their way into the House

  • Print

OTTAWA -- Chiefs from Manitoba, Ontario and Saskatchewan tried to force their way onto the floor of the House of Commons on Tuesday, demanding a chance to be heard by the government.

Some mild pushing and shoving occurred as security guards stepped up to block access to the chamber, and after about 30 seconds, the chiefs backed down.

But Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak said the chiefs are putting the government on notice the time for Ottawa to make unilateral decisions about First Nations is over.

"We've tried other means of communicating with this government," he said. "This may not be the last time we do this."

About 250 chiefs and First Nations representatives left a special chief's assembly of the Assembly of First Nations across the river in Gatineau, Que., to bring their protest to Parliament Hill.

Chiefs are angry about a number of bills passed or introduced by the government or individual MPs that directly affect First Nations.

That includes legislation forcing chiefs and councillors to make their salaries public, a bill that would slowly eradicate the Indian Act and the omnibus budget bill, which amends a number of environmental protections and fisheries that affect First Nations.

The budget bill was being voted on in a marathon session Tuesday and is expected to pass third reading and be sent to the Senate today.

After being invited into the building by NDP MP Charlie Angus, the chiefs first confronted Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver in the foyer outside the House of Commons, peppering him with questions about the taking of resources on First Nations land.

When they tried to follow him into the chamber, they were stopped by a wall of security guards.

"You're not going to accomplish anything by rushing into the Parliament's chamber," one guard told them.

The chiefs quickly backed down, but issued a warning.

"OK, that's fine. Try coming onto our territory sometime then. You've drawn the line," said one chief.

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee then turned to the cameras.

"What a pile of crap we just heard," he said.

Madahbee said Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised partnership at the Crown-First Nations gathering last January, then immediately "jetted off to sell our resources to the world. He's constantly doing that."

"Sweeping the floor while some company from an international body takes billions out of our territory is not the answer to the poverty in our communities," Madahbee said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 5, 2012 A9

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

Make text: Larger | Smaller


Canadians For a New Partnership discuss their plans

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Peregrine Falcon Recovery Project. Baby peregrine falcons. 21 days old. Three baby falcons. Born on ledge on roof of Radisson hotel on Portage Avenue. Project Coordinator Tracy Maconachie said that these are third generation falcons to call the hotel home. Maconachie banded the legs of the birds for future identification as seen on this adult bird swooping just metres above. June 16, 2004.
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press.  Local- (Standup Photo). Watcher in the woods. A young deer peers from the forest while eating leaves by Cricket Drive in Assiniboine Park. A group of eight deer were seen in the park. 060508.

View More Gallery Photos


Do agree with the EPC's decision to release construction company Stuart Olson from its hotel-building obligation?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google