nb-first-nations-protest-legislature

The protest Wednesday at the legislature was one of several held by First Nations people across the country in recent days. (Jacques Poitras/CBC)

Several dozen First Nations people briefly blocked entrances to the New Brunswick Legislature on Wednesday morning to protest several pieces of federal legislation introduced by the Harper government, including the omnibus bill.

"They're ignoring our treaties," said Alma Brooks, of the St. Mary's First Nation.

"We have rights under international law. They're ignoring that," she said.

Some of the protesters blocked a side entrance to the legislature used by Members of the Legislative Assembly. They later blocked the main door.

A few of the protesters, who entered the legislature, were asked by police to leave and eventually dispersed peacefully.

First Nations people have held similar protests across the country in recent days, opposing the federal omnibus bill.

They say Bill C-45 proposes significant changes to the Indian Act, including changes to land management on reserves that make it easier for the federal government to control reserve land.

The bill is one of two Conservative omnibus bills forced through the House of Commons this year, altering hundreds of separate pieces of legislation.

The National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations is calling for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Gov. Gen. David Johnston.

Shawn Atleo has written an open letter asking for the meeting in light of a hunger strike by Theresa Spence, the chief of the First Nations community of Attawapiskat in northern Ontario.

Spence stopped eating nine days ago to protest what she sees as a lack of respect for treaty rights. She has said she is willing to die to force the federal government to meet treaty obligations.

Raymond Robinson, a 51-year-old elder from the Cross Lake First Nation in northern Manitoba is also on a hunger strike. Robinson, who started fasting on Dec. 12, is also protesting federal legislation he says violates treaty rights.