Queen turns down Chief Spence's request to intervene

Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence (C) pauses after making a statement on Victoria Island before the start of a meeting between chiefs and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper in Ottawa January 11, 2013. Deep splits emerged in the ranks of Canada's aboriginal movement on Friday, casting doubt on a planned meeting between chiefs and Conservative Prime Minister Harper to discuss a series of native grievances.

Credits: REUTERS


OTTAWA - The Queen has reportedly rejected an appeal from Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, who has been on a protest to try to get Gov. Gen. David Johnston to jointly meet with aboriginal leaders and Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the same time.

Buckingham Palace has indicated in writing that Spence should take up her issues with the federal cabinet, according to a report Thursday by the Canadian Press.

Spence originally wrote to the Queen last February to outline some of the problems plaguing the northern Ontario reserve, including "inadequate" housing, and to appeal the government's decision to appoint an outside money manager.

The Federal Court eventually deemed the decision to appoint the manager as contrary to law.

Spence wrote Buckingham Palace again on Jan. 9, appealing for her to compel Johnston to join a meeting two days later between Harper and some aboriginal leaders, including Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo.

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A number of other First Nations leaders, to stand in solidarity with Spence, did not attend Friday's meeting and hammered Atleo for meeting with Harper. These chiefs have suggested they may directly try to challenge Atleo's leadership of the advocacy organization.

Spence, who has been camped out at Ottawa's Victoria Island since Dec. 11, wants to see a meeting between the feds and a representative of the Crown, which originally drafted treaties with First Nations.
Spence has been on a diet of fish broth and herbal teas. This week, a number of politicians, including the Liberal and NDP leaders, have suggested Spence should put an end to her efforts.

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