World Champion and Olympic boxer Mary Spencer has joined the Idle No More movement. She didn’t make her decision hastily.
"I didn’t automatically want to be a part of it. I looked at both sides and tried to see what my true feelings were so I wasn’t jumping into something just because I’m native," said Spencer, whose father is Ojibway.
She said she talked with her father before deciding to join a march, drum dance and demonstration in Windsor, Ont., where Idle No More planned an economic slowdown at the Ambassador Bridge.
"He wanted me to have an opinion based on what’s happening instead of just saying ‘I’m native so I have to go to these demonstrations,’" Spencer said.
Spencer is a World Champion boxer and fought at the 2012 London Olympic Games. She said being a high-profile athlete had nothing to do with her decision to participate in the movement.
"I don’t look at it as using my position for anything. If anything, because I represent more than the First Nations community ... it made me sit down and think about things before joining in. I needed to look at both sides before committing to it," she said. "It made me not want to go and rally for the sake of rallying. It made me actually look at what was going on. I can’t just jump in because I represent more than myself.
"After looking at what was going on I felt strongly about what was going on."
Spencer said Bill C-45, the federal government’s most recent omnibus bill, "is taking the sovereignty away from First Nations communities."
"We don’t want to sit around, let these things happen and do nothing about it," Spencer said. "It’s stressed very much in the First Nations community that this is peaceful. It’s not supposed to be a war waged against the government."
The demonstration in Windsor plans to slow traffic on Huron Church Road and at the Ambassador Bridge, a critical trade corridor in North America.
"Of course, the idea is to not upset people but when you try and raise awareness sometimes the only way to get the message across is by doing something that will potentially upset people," Spencer said. "It’s not our intent to upset people."