Chief Theresa Spence's Open letter to National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief and Ontario Regional Chief, Chiefs of Ontario

Chief Theresa Spence's Open letter to National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief and Ontario Regional Chief, Chiefs of Ontario
Posted on January 25, 2014 | Unpublished Admin | Written on January 10, 2014
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Author's Note:

Author's Note:

The online version of Chief Spence's letter you see below has been edited for publication on The original letter is attached as a PDF.

At this time I would like to convey my thoughts and concerns to the Leadership on how our grassroots members have continuously attempted to convey their concerns, and to remind all levels of government and our Chiefs that our treaty relationship derives from our inherent historic relationship with Her Majesty the Queen, whose predecessors saw our ancestors as equal sovereign peoples. Modern developments by various Provincial, and Federal governments have eroded this historic relationship, with the tacit approval or ignorance of Her Majesty the Queen, who had promised to protect her people.

Our children, elderly, youth and women are speaking to you as leaders of our Nations. They have communicated their concerns through their walks, hunger strikes, petitions and acts of protest. They have sought to communicate their concerns with you. As our people proceed with their journey they will do so with courage, determination and pride as well with heart ache, because they feel and know their loved ones and fellow members are suffering with pain. Encountering a challenged dream of where the future will take them, due to the absence of a clear spirit of hope. Some don't even want to wake up from their sleep because they sense the agony will still exist in their communities, in their people.

During their journey their voices need to be heard as our grassroots members are shedding tears as they pray for peace, hope, freedom and justice for the nation; and for the leaders to hear their message loud and clear!

But, somehow the leaders are confused and very fearful when they receive this message from their people. When the Leadership is in this state, they approach their people with promises and commitments to carry on their message to the government, who failed to honour the treaty and respect First Nation leaders.

Chiefs, why are you watching your people agonize when they raise their voices and struggle for their rights to protect our signed treaties? Is it because you don't comprehend their voices or is it because you are afraid to act on them? It is so anguishing to watch the walkers go through the discomfort journey when the Chiefs are in the ‘comfortable zone’.

What does it take for the Leadership to understand and feel the distress of the people who are fighting for their rights, for justice, peace and freedom. Who are fighting to renew the treaty relationship and to honour the spirit and intent of the treaty?

Chiefs, this is not the time to cover your eyes and allow our people to stand alone in battle to protect our collective rights. I call upon you, to listen to the concerns of your membership, to heed their advice, and to call upon your fellow Chiefs to set up a special meeting to develop a united stand for the future of our Nations.

Such a course of action was suggested by a young lady recently at the special Chiefs Assembly held in Ottawa on November 7, 2013. In her presentation, Zeta encouraged all Chiefs to have a Pipe Ceremony and to pray to our creator for peace and hope, and especially for our leadership to stand in unity.

I encourage you to implement an immediate action plan, such as organizing a meeting with the government of Canada to advise them that their grassroots people are in a journey for their inherent treaty rights, where the concerns of the People are brought forward. And, for the Chief‘s to declare a statement to them that as Chiefs, you will stand united and support the walkers and your people. Furthermore, that you as Chiefs will protect and fight for them.

Please remind the government of the statements from the Chiefs in December 2012 and January 2013 about the crippling aspects of the economic system that is doing harm to our peoples. During my hunger strike, others suggested that they would blockade the highways, railways and other means of transportation.

My spokesperson Danny Metatawabin, who assisted me in my hunger strike protest last year declared in a press conference on January 24, 2013, that although the hunger strike ended, it doesn't mean the fight is over and it will continue.

Danny started his walk to Ottawa on Saturday, January 4 to tell the Leadership that there is a vast tide of concerns with our people, for which he has entitled his epic trek "Reclaiming our steps Past, Present and Future." Danny’s quest is to remind all Chiefs, and the Government of Canada of the undertakings promised during last year’s struggle, which remain outstanding.

If the Chiefs fail to heed the advice contained in this open letter to engage in solidarity with their members, to advocate for their members and to protect the needs of our people, and treaties, I will call upon my grassroots people, treaty partners, Canadians and our neighbours from other countries to expose all of the wrongful acts and abusive actions that were imposed on our people, and which continue to have an impact to this day.

Chief Theresa Spence,
Attawapiskat First Nation

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Russ Letica

Woliwon Chief Spence. If they wont stand with us then we will walk over them.

Robert Paul

Chief: Theresa Spence
Attawapiskat First Nation

Thanks for helping out the grassroots movement.

Richard Paul

ivan m lincoln

with what you foolishly did who gives you the right to ask anyone what to totally disgraced native in canada and usa.

disgusted grass roots member

Chief Spence, you do nothing but deflect attention away from your own actions. You represent one of the biggest problems we have. You should have resigned and you should be ashamed of yourself. But, instead you choose to use the grassroots people and ride on the coat tails of the Idle No More Movement.