Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence set to end 43-day hunger protest

The Canadian Press
Associated Press

OTTAWA - First Nations leaders gather in Ottawa today to honour Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and witness the end of her 43-day hunger protest.

Opposition leaders and prominent chiefs have drafted a declaration to bring Spence's liquids-only diet to a close.

It contains 13 priorities, including an immediate meeting between the Governor General, federal and provincial governments and all First Nations to discuss treaty and non-treaty relationships.

It also calls for clear plans with firm targets to deal with aboriginal issues, with an immediate focus on housing.

Discussions to convince Spence to end her protest intensified over the past few days. She has been subsisting on fish broth and medicinal tea since Dec. 11 in a bid to bring Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Governor General together to deal with the plight of impoverished aboriginal communities.

Elders from the Algonquin community of Kitigan Zibi have been asked to meet with Spence early today in her teepee on Victoria Island, near the Parliament buildings. The plan is to engage in a "walking out ceremony" as they leave the tent for the final time.