January 23, 2013
by Larry Towell
On December 11, Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat reserve in northern Ontario went on a hunger strike to try to get Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper to the negotiating table. Within days, tens of thousands of Indians across Canada rose up in peaceful demonstrations. I found one band (Chippewas of Aamjiwnaang) blocking a railroad track into Sarnia’s chemical valley (Nova Chemical, Suncor, Terra International, St Clair Ethanol) in solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence. The blockade was later dismantled due to threats of a lawsuit. I attended border crossing blockades (Canadian/US border). Last weekend I photographed an outdoor “education” session with Indian youth being taught traditional native skills, including hunting at the Moraviantown (Delaware Indian) reservation. The Delaware were the first Indians to make contact with the white Europeans and eventually sold Manhattan Island to the Dutch. The Delaware eventually migrated to Canada.
I would like to continue this work, as well as visit some of the northern native communities where poverty and abuse is rampant. As I said, this issue and the Idle No More movement will not go away any time soon. The “sleeping giant” has awoken. The Indians plan on continuing for months