Chiefs take fight to House of Commons’ doorstep

Parliament Hill security guards clashed with a group of First Nations chiefs who tried to enter the House of Commons chamber Tuesday and deliver a message to the Canadian government that the time for talk had passed.

Raw video of dramatic confrontation involving First Nations chiefs on the doorstep to the House of Commons chamber where MPs pass the laws of the land

By Jorge Barrera and Kenneth Jackson
APTN National News
OTTAWA–First Nations chiefs clashed with Parliament Hill security guards Tuesday after they tried to enter the House of Commons and deliver a message to the Harper government that the time for talk had passed.

Surrounded by the crush of video cameras and bathed in the glow of TV lights, the chiefs from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario served notice that they now planned to take “direct action” against the Harper government.

The dramatic confrontation lasted for only about 30 seconds when chiefs relented and pulled back from their attempt to enter the green-carpeted chamber where the laws of the land get debated and only MPs and chamber officials are allowed to enter.

Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee led the attempted walk into the chamber and was flanked by Serpent River First Nation Chief Isadore Day, Onion Lake Cree Nation Chief Wallace Fox and Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Derek Nepinak.

“We were asked to come in here,” said Madahbee.

“No, not in the chamber,” said a Parliament Hill security guard.

“We need to go into the House of Commons,” said Day. “We allowed them onto this land. We signed treaties with this government.”

But the security guards barred the way.

“You are not going to accomplish anything by rushing into the Commons chamber,” said the guard.

“We are not rushing, we are trying to walk in if you get the hell out of the road,” said Madahbee.

Moments earlier, oil-rich Onion Lake Cree Nation Chief Wallace Fox confronted Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver.

Fox, who is planning to travel to Vienna later this month to a meeting of the OPEC oil cartel, challenged Oliver on what he said was Ottawa’s policy to strip away the rights of Indigenous peoples to their lands.

“I think we can work together as partners to achieve what you want to achieve which is full respect for your rights,” said Oliver.

“There is an inherent right, the land belongs to our people. Why is government policy and legislation always wanting us to surrender the land? To cede and surrender,” said Fox.

“What we are looking for is equal partnership. That is what our government wants to do,” said Oliver, before retreating back into the Chamber. “We are going to continue to work on behalf of all the people of Canada.”

“Your law and your legislation won’t mean a damn thing to us, it won’t work,” said Madahbee.

It was Fox who had called the chiefs that morning to leave the plush confines of the Hilton hotel at the Lac Leamy Casino in Gatineau, Que., cross the Ottawa River and take their message to Parliament Hill. The chiefs are meeting there this week as part of their annual Assembly of First Nations special chiefs assembly.

“We tried to enter into the house in order to deliver our message to all Members of Parliament and Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a peaceful way that our Inherent and Treaty Rights aren’t negotiable. We weren’t consulted on C-45 which outlines a new legislation on land surrender and wanted to be included in these discussions,” said Fox in a statement issued late in the day. “These actions have strained a already fragile relationship. We have no other choice now but to take a course that will have impacts on all Canadians.”

About 200 people, included chiefs from across the country answered the call and gathered on the steps leading to Parliament Hill’s Centre Block.

The rally began at about 1 p.m. as chiefs trickled in one by one. They then marched towards the Peace Tower where they were met by a steel barricade and RCMP officers.

During speeches Nepinak approached one officer and asked why they weren’t be allowed through. He was told they were to stay on the other side while other people were allowed to pass.

About five minutes later the RCMP officer approached Nepinak and told him NDP Charlie Angus was trying to negotiate a way for the chiefs to enter the Parliament buildings.

The chiefs then left the crowd and walked to the front door of Parliament Hill. They weren’t allowed in and told to go through security on the side. They then walked up to the chamber.

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30 thoughts on “Chiefs take fight to House of Commons’ doorstep

  1. Aren’t there any lawyers watching this? The Stephen Harper government is violating the rule of law. The Harper government is stripping Canada of its sovereignty, robbing the First Nations of their sovereignty and raping our environment. They are selling our oil, our water, our control of our natural resources, our control over our data communication networks, and in doing so are violating all democratic principles upon which our country is built. I simply do not understand why the Harper cannot be stopped. I am ashamed of all conservative MPs who are more concerned with their temporary jobs than with the long-term safety, sovereignty, and natural beauty of our country. Are there no safety checks built in to stop a dictator? That Omni-bus bill can’t be legal? Surely something can be done?

  2. Anyone but Chiefs can enter the house?! Chief Isadore Day of Serpent River First Nation calls the government’s plans a template of apartheid.

  3. I will be very surprised if the :Canadian Indian Act” Chiefs n Councils receive any positive results with their actions….it is obvious that they don’t have the legal standing to deal with these matters…

    1. the harper government have no legal standing in trampling on treaty laws either, but they continue altering laws they need to, by leverage of the Indian Act, in order to line their pockets and coffers of the rich world over. Nothing positive has been acomplished by their control over the true landowners of this country, and nothing positive will happen if we continue to bend over and let harper continue to have his way with us. There’s a word I won’t use, to describe them but this is nothing short of swindling and plundering.

  4. Chi-Miigwitch to Madahbee, Fox, Day, Nepinak and to all Chiefs, delegates present in Ottawa. This government, and all Canadian government of past, has no intent on honouring the Chiefs through negotiation, they have no respect for our people or our rights as nations. They control ‘their’ constitution and its flip-flop laws. They will attempt to push, as they have always, their interests through with their concept of democracy. It’s way over-time for direct action, and time to shove back.

  5. It’s funny how Mr Oliver would hypocritically say “we want to work together as partners to achieve what you want to achieve in full respect for your rights and work on behalf of Canada… equal partnership etc, etc. His comments leave an open door of questions for himself and his Gov’t! for instance: when he says “we” who is he referring to? who are these so called partners? To me he does not in anyway include F.N’s as part of this partnership and who’s rights is he respecting and working on behalf of?? It absolutely in no way can be in reference to F.N’s people!! Might i add that Mr Oliver does not know the meaning of “Partnership”! Last but not least how does Mr Oliver know what “we” the First Nations People want to achieve?? How can you know when the Gov’t continuously goes ahead and makes laws and decisions on our behalf without any consultation with F.N people?!! Can you see the hypocrisy in Mr Oliver’ statements???

    1. to me this is key in oliver statement ”We are going to continue to work on behalf of all the people of Canada.” basically he is negating everything he said earlier about partnership etc. there is no partnership with any one FN or others, harper will continue to do has he please ‘on behalf’ of Canadians. There is only one conclusion this government need to be stopped and removed from office, the question is how?

  6. Environment…Environment…Shyt! First nation people always cry about the environment and $$$$$$$ but when i comes to OUR OWN first nation reservations….their DIRTY..they dont follow landfill rules and such, liter and garbage everywhere, oh and dogs cant forget the & oil dumpings where ever, free flowing sewers from our homes into our own land ( given to us by the lovley canadian government) but when it comes to $$$$ and land..then we NDNS cry….. clean YOUR Reserves first…enough said!! I would love to see a clean reserve…can some1 name any?

  7. Many Blessing to the Chief and his people , may they get thru to the Government and settle this , seems minister joe oliver is hesitant on discussing any more to the chief, another wimpy government official !!

    1. do not underestimate harper, oliver or any of them they have an agenda and have been unstoppable so far, the very ‘democracy’ that allow FN or any Canadian citizen to express themselves is being dismantled. Once it is completely gone we will have a a totalitarian government like China has. oliver has nothing but disdain for FN or any other Canadian just like all the other harper puppets. They are buying time while pushing legislations that destroy our country. Mark my words if not stopped harper will make all of us and our country low wage slave to international corporations.

  8. It is time for First Nations and the Canadain people start standing together in solidarity to protect our resources whats left of it.
    The only way this is going to happen is that Canadians support First Naion in all area’s including that the Harper government recognises the First Nation Treaties with Canada.

  9. It wasn’t a clash or dramatic – I think the only drama is from the view of media.
    This was a business to business approach. With the Harper Govt cowering behind locked Chamber doors with lots of security and Tv Cameras around.
    The Harper Govt knows they have never done proper consultation with FN leaders. And Harper was trying to pass Bill C-45 as a Private Members Bill where the Govt is not obligated to include anyone not present – in the chamber. The Harper Govt was going to diss FN Leaders but got caught in their own dishonest agenda.
    or something like that ……….

  10. I congratulate our First Nations and their courage. There are many of us who are not First Nation who feel as you do, and we are also being damaged by this monstrous PM and his pack of bobble-headed yapping dogs. Every step he takes to destroy environmental, cultural, scientific, and social gains we have all fought so hard to achieve is a slap in the face to all thinking Canadians. I ask our First Nation peoples to please do not sweep all Canadians into the same basket as Harper and his minions. Most of us didn’t vote Conservative, and I would bet many who did are regretting their decision.

  11. I am not native but I agree with 100%> Us white people came over here and destroyed your way of life. Put you on reserves and took away you culture and children. But what Steven Harper and the conservatives are trying to do with this bill is wrong.

  12. where are all the grand chiefs, congratulations to Chief Fox, AFN should be dismantled and done away with

  13. AFN and FSIN are not our leaders they are only Lobby groups who have no say. why we have them is beyond me. we have to stand up and a collective and as First Nation Reservations. don’t rely on AFN or FSIN please. rely on your own band or rez and your own leaders. Also we should be asking for Canadas title to this land that we have not sold or gave up.

  14. The Action displayed towards The First Nations’ Chiefs today at Parliament Hill is a Total Representation of an Inhumane practice of Racism, and Prejudice towards the First Nations of Canada. In Reality, Anyone who hasn’t seen Planet of The Apes can watch it live in your living room! It appears there will be no escape from THE ENEMY! The Harper Government……Unless God Intervenes!

  15. my question is… where was Atleo when all this was happening??? Why wasn’t he there with these Chiefs supporting this cause???

  16. Well, I would like to say to the chiefs that were there today and to all other clans chiefs and First nation groups and associations; do not say that this government is disregarding your people, say this government is disregarding the people, all people, living or not in Canada. This government is serving multinationals and short term capitalist interests. All the policies from this government have been to restrain, silence, hurt First nations, Canadians, immigrants… Creating chaos during which there illegal agendas can be push forward.

    If for nothing else Canadians, First nations and anyone who has a remote interest in stopping the enslavement of the people and the land by this government to the service of totalitarian capitalist interests should join forces and rally under one banner until this common threat is annihilated.

    I urge all of us from any backgrounds and any age to unite and reach for each other strength.

    As a French ‘white’ Canadian I will gladly stand with you to defend your ground, and to defend my ground and I hope we can stand together to defend our grounds against the modern threat of corporate power and free range capitalism that respect nothing but profits.

    Call on us, the people and allow us to call on you to defeat a common threat of unheard proportion.

    A Canadian government that calls itself the harper government.

    The enemy.

  17. Its about time!!! It’s only a matter of time that a national protest starts and Canadians will see the power First Nation’s have! Start blocking roads highways and even streets to send that message and it will be only a matter of months before real action starts! Enough is enough and people should get of their butts and do the same as these chiefs did, its the only way to send a message and for people to start listening and taking our government serious.

    1. It’s not Canadians against First Nations, it’s Canadians AND First Nations against the government! We white people can’t stand this government and it’s “omnibus” bills any better than you guys. We know he is trying to ram the bill through that surrenders your land because the bastard Harper wants his pipelines to go through. The only way to do this is to put forth these bills and take away everyone’s rights. Harper is a modern day Hitler!

      1. We all need to stand together, united, in real solidarity. White people are treaty people too, and so we too are bound by accountability to fight against this long-standing breach of contract.

      2. You are so right and i find this is just another way the government divides the people of Canada, so as to keep all the false decision making power onto themselves and the Corporations they represent.I as a Mohawk do not ever remember the people of this Nation agreeing with the government in making all the resource wealth that belongs to all Canadians as peoples of this Country private so they could sell it off as though it were theirs

  18. wheres our AFN chief? why did chief Wallace Fox have to organize this when it should have been our AFN chief>>>all props go to Wallace Fox. What about our FSIN chiefs? makes us wonder why our chiefs voted them in!!

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