Spence's own people put pressure on protesting chief

Credits: REUTERS/Chris Wattie


OTTAWA - As plans for a Thursday ceremony to honour Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence kicks into high gear, members of her band council are reportedly en route to Ottawa to threaten her job if she doesn't return to her Ontario reserve immediately.

Spence, who has been on a diet of liquids in Ottawa since Dec. 11 to demand the government implement treaty rights, has been engaged in ongoing talks with First Nations chiefs and opposition parties over putting an end to her efforts.

This news comes as the Aboriginal Peoples' Television Network (APTN) reports members of Spence's own band and council want her return to her remote Ontario community, or face losing her job.

"A delegation of band councillors from Attawapiskat is expected to hand-deliver a letter to Spence Wednesday urging her to end her fast or face removal as chief of the community," APTN reports on its website.

Meantime, political staffers have confirmed that Cree NDP MP Romeo Saganash and interim Liberal leader Bob Rae have been central to discussions with Spence, who is expected to put an end to her diet.

An "honouring" ceremony for Spence will be held at Ottawa's Delta Hotel on Thursday. An invitation has been extended to all First Nations, including Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo.

Atleo, who has been on sick leave since Jan. 14, is expected to return to work later this week.

The government has indicated it will meet with Atleo in "coming weeks" to address next steps, following a high-profile meeting on Jan. 11.

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