Spence vows to continue strike until feds and First Nations meet

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence (C) speaks during a news conference outside her teepee on Victoria Island in Ottawa January 4, 2013.




OTTAWA - A First Nations chief who launched a personal protest more than three weeks ago says she will not back down until she sees the outcome of a meeting between aboriginal leaders and Prime Minister Stephen Harper next Friday.

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence says she will not consume solid food until First Nations leaders "see what the results are." Two aboriginal leaders have also launched similar efforts to support Spence.

"There are a lot of issues to discuss," she told media Friday.

Spence has been camped out at Victoria Island on the Ottawa River, in the shadows of Parliament Hill, with a team of supporters since Dec. 11.

In recent weeks, First Nations demonstrators have called for an urgent meeting between the Crown and aboriginal leaders.

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) on Thursday invited Harper to a meeting on Jan. 24, but Spence said the meeting needed to happen sooner. By Friday morning, the government and AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo had agreed to meet Jan.11.

The Idle No More Movement, originally sparked by four people in Saskatchewan, has led to mass protests across Canada. Supporting demonstrations have been seen in the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe.

Organizers say the movement has raised awareness about issues, including poverty on reserves, treaty implementation, education gaps, and violence against indigeous women.

A comprehensive financial audit of Spence's community, covering 2005 to 2011, has been completed but the feds haven't released it.fact

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