National Day of Protest
The signs were made, the flags were hung and you could hear the beating of the drum as the native protesters took part in the “National Day of Protest”.
Well over 150 people joined in to raise their voices and show their concerns. Zhiibaashing, M’Chigeeng, Sheshegwaning, Sheguiandah as well as the Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation participated with their flags and supporters. Other people from Birch Island as well as tourists came to check us out.
“The Anishnabek Flag was hung upside down which means “Distress”.
The protest started around 10 a.m. at the Little Current Bridge. The Protest was peaceful and the weather turned out beautiful. When the Little Current Bridge swung at 11 a.m. some of the protesters stayed on the bridge with their flags. One of them even managed to climb to the top of the bridge. (see photo)
T-shirts were given to some protesters which said “National Action – respect, dignity, fairness. Flyers were handed to the passing motorists. The motorists honked their horns and waved to show support. The MCTV news was there as well as the Expositor to take pictures and do interviews.
The protest lasted until 1 p.m. but some stayed a little longer and others continued on to Espanola where M’Chigeeng First Nation was blocking/protesting Hwy 17. Our Chief Patrick Madahbee as well as others headed over there to show support. Other protests were held in Ontario such as the one near Toronto where the Mohawks blocked the 401 as well as the railway.
Overall it was a good day and the Government must have opened their eyes as well as other non-natives. They now know that we do have serious issues that need to be addressed. The issues are land, water, suicides, poverty and housing problems within our First Nation Communities. Our native people only had one day of protest and we did cause some delays for others, but with our actions we will see if anything comes out of this. Or we may have to protest again…