Hunger-striking Attawapiskat chief refuses to talk to media

Attawapiskat First Nations chief Theresa Spence is helped by supporters as she makes her way inside her teepee on Victoria Island in the Ottawa River next to Parliament Hill in Ottawa Jan 3, 2012 in Ottawa, ON.



OTTAWA — On the 23rd day of a hunger strike aimed at getting the Prime Minister to pay more attention to First Nations issues, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is reportedly too weak to meet with media.

The teepee she has been staying in — on Ottawa's Victoria Island, not far from Parliament Hill — is surrounded by snow and large men who usher in well-wishers and keep frigid reporters at bay.

The stream of MPs has been constant. NDP MP Charlie Angus, whose riding includes Attawapiskat territory, visited Spence Thursday, along with fellow NDP MPs Nicole Turmel and Alexandre Boulerice and Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett.

When asked to comment on the as much as $250,000 salary Spence and her husband were reportedly paid in the fiscal year 2010-11, Angus, who has stood in solidarity with Spence, refused to comment, instead taking shots at Sun newspapers and personalities.

"That's bull----," he told a reporter. Spence, who has been surviving on fish broth and tea, was also visited Thursday by Shawn Atleo, the National Chief for the Assembly of First Nations, and regional chiefs from the Attawapiskat area.

Though Atleo declined to speak with reporters following the meeting, it is widely speculated he is attempting to dissuade Spence from the hunger strike.

Atleo invited Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston to attend a meeting on Jan. 24, one year after the last Crown-First Nations meeting.

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