Horsemen deliver message to GG on Aboriginal rights

More than a dozen men on horseback rode through downtown Ottawa-Gatineau this morning to deliver a set of recommendations to the governor general's office about the rights of off-reserve Aboriginal people.

Protest snarled traffic in downtown Ottawa-Gatineau Monday morning

About 15 Indigenous men on horseback rode through downtown Ottawa-Gatineau to deliver a set of recommendations to the governor general's office about the rights of off-reserve Aboriginals. (Mathieu Gohier/Radio-Canada)

More than a dozen men on horseback rode through downtown Ottawa-Gatineau this morning to deliver a set of recommendations to the governor general's office about the rights of off-reserve Aboriginal people.

The protest, organized by the Confederation of Aboriginal Peoples, began in Gatineau's Hull neighbourhood early Monday morning.

The protesters rode across the Portage Bridge into Ottawa during the morning commute at about 7 a.m. Their route ended at the governor general's residence, where the protesters delivered an engraved staff along with the set of recommendations, both intended for the Queen. 

"If we would have been under the Indian Act, we would have went to see [Prime Minister] Trudeau. But Trudeau is not the problem, it's the Queen. She has to take responsibility for the Native people. Our rights are protected by the Queen and not the government of Canada," said Guillaume Carle, national grand chief of the confederation.

"It's the first step to being able to speak from nation to nation," said Anne Minh-Thu Quach, NDP MP for Salaberry-Suroît. "We must recognize the identity of all the people who are First Nations people." 

Carle was told by police officers that Governor General David Johnston was not available to meet with demonstrators, but Carle remained defiant. "We're going to put some teepees up and we're going to stay here until we have to leave," said Carle.

A horse-drawn wagon carries elders and other protesters. (Mathieu Gohier/Radio-Canada)
The convoy of horsemen arrive at the governor general's residence to deliver an engraved staff and a set of recommendations about the rights of off-reserve Aboriginals. (Idil Mussa/CBC)
The staff is engraved with the Queen's emblem as well as the emblem of the Confederation of Aboriginal Peoples. (Idil Mussa/CBC)
Protesters say they expect a response from the Queen. (Idil Mussa/CBC)