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Idle No More rally hits West Van
Hundreds of people gathered at Park Royal mall yesterday as part of the ongoing Idle No More rallies by Aboriginal Canadians angry at their treatment by the government.
The crowd packed into an area near the food court to chant, drum and speak about the effects of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government on aboriginal communities.
Other supporters looked down from the second floor to see the group holding up signs that included "Squamish support Idle No More," "We hold the future of our children in our hands" and "The land is a gift. Don't abuse it!"
Organized through social media, protests have been taking place across Canada in support of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, who has been on a hunger strike in Ottawa for two weeks, demanding a meeting with Prime Minister Harper and the Queen on aboriginal rights.
In particular, Idle No More supporters are concerned about omnibus Bill C-45, which they say weakens environmental protection laws.
"For giving up our land, there were things the Canadian government promised to uphold on their end, and now they want to break some of those treaties," Rueben George, a Tsleil-Waututh Nation member, told The Outlook on the phone the next day.
"We're fed up, there have to be changes. [Harper] is making some ridiculous decisions that affect not only First Nations, but all people of Canada."
Another Idle No More protest took place yesterday downtown at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
The Lower Mainland is a "melting pot" of Canadian First Nations, George said, so many different communities have been represented at the rallies.
Social media like Twitter and Facebook have played a major role in organizing the events, he added.
"I was so excited to see pictures of Idle No More at West Edmonton Mall, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto, and yesterday in Seattle. [Social media] gives people a space to freely express what they feel is the truth."
Photo by Chief Bob Chamberlin/Twitter