Thunder Bay

Chief 'energized' by Idle No More movement

More than 120 people rallied in Thunder Bay on Friday to demonstrate against pending federal legislation they say will violate First Nations treaty rights.

First Nations protestors educate Thunder Bay residents about the Idle No More campaign

Members of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation held a press conference in Thunder Bay to discuss Theresa Spence's hunger strike and the burgeoning Idle No More movement. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

More than 120 people rallied in Thunder Bay on Friday to demonstrate against pending federal legislation they say will violate First Nations treaty rights.

The event, held at Prince Arthur's Landing, got underway at noon, and included drumming, singing, and speeches.

The Idle No More Unity Rally in the Spirit Gardens at the Thunder Bay Marina saw more than 120 people came out to demonstrate against pending federal legislation. The event got underway at noon, and included drumming, singing, and speeches. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

Organizers wanted to educate both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people about the Idle No More movement, and handed out information about the specific legislation in question.

At the same time, there was a rally near Highway 11/17 at Dawson Road.

Organizers said they held demonstrations in two locations in Thunder Bay to get their message out to more people — to drivers on the highway and to people in the city of Thunder Bay.

'I'm energized'

At a related event Friday, regional aboriginal leaders pledged their support for Theresa Spence. The Attiwapiskat chief is in the second week of her hunger strike in Ottawa.

Members of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation held a press conference in Thunder Bay to discuss the hunger strike and the burgeoning Idle No More movement.

"I think our people are going to make a stand, that's the sentiment I'm getting," said Harvey Yesno, NAN Grand Chief.

"I'm energized ... from the support I'm getting from individuals and ... community grass-roots people"

Yesno was to head to Ottawa to meet with Chief Spence Saturday morning.

"I think it's unprecedented what's happening, that community members are getting involved," he added.

"[For example, the] youth we had here, a delegation from a remote community, Poplar Hill ... a dozen of them came and they want to be part of this."

He said the message is getting out, even in remote communities with the help of "social media stuff" like Twitter and Facebook.

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