Stoney Nakoda First Nation protests Bill C-45
First Nation joins others across Canada in protest
Members of the Stoney Nakoda First Nation in Morley exercised a peaceful protest Sunday afternoon.
About 200 people blocked one lane of the Trans-Canada Highway in joining other First Nations to protest the federal government's Bill C-45.
The legislation includes changes to the Indian Act that aboriginal people claim may affect the way reserve lands are leased and the way decisions are made involving band territories.
Autumn Eaglespeaker helped organized the march.
"The First Nations people are saying no, that enough is enough, we've had a sovereignty treaty with the crown and that is the basis of the beginning of Canada," Eaglespeaker said.
Elroy Strawberryrain came from the Samson Cree First Nation in Edmonton.
"I was there for 13 years in residential schools and there is no way I will put up with the government doing this to me again — our reserve is our reserve," Starwberryrain said. "I'm 56 years old. We do everything for our kids and our grandkids so they have what we have including this land, everything around the reserves — the money, the economy all our boundaries, of all our nations."
Blake Richards, MP for Wild Rose, says Bill C-45 is not about taking away rights.
"What it's doing is, like the rest of our budget, it's focusing on being able to create jobs and growth and prosperity for all Canadians and that includes our First Nations — these changes don't alter treaty rights or any land claims processes at all," Richards said, adding that he held an open house in the community earlier in the year that only two people attended. "It's unfortunate they didn't take the opportunity to contact their member of parliament and let me know of their concerns."
with files from Meghan Grant