First Nations advocates use protests, legislation to maintain pressure on Harper

The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - First Nations advocates are hoping to keep up the pressure on the federal Conservatives, taking to the streets this morning as MPs return to the House of Commons after a six-week break.

The Idle-No-More movement is holding protests across the country, joining forces with other activists to oppose Stephen Harper's changes to environmental oversight and urge action on native rights.

At the same time, NDP critic Romeo Saganash is tabling a private member's bill today that would ensure all federal legislation is compatible with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Saganash was a key architect of the declaration.

The Conservatives have endorsed it but see it as a non-binding "aspirational" document that has no effect on Canadian legislation.

Behind the scenes, Assembly of First Nations officials are talking to government officials about meetings between Harper and National Chief Shawn Atleo that would deal with modernizing ancient treaties and speeding up land claims,