Across Canada, First Nations people rallied, marched, blocked roads, and risked arrest to protest the Conservative government’s lack of progress on poverty, education, health, housing, environment and other issues affecting indigenous people. The National Day of Action on Friday, June 29 turned into a long weekend of action, as the protests rolled on to include anti-Canada Day events on Sunday and Monday.
What we haven’t heard is news about how the national Assembly of First Nations, a government-sponsored and approved organization, was eclipsed by local grassroots activists, despite the leaders’ attempts to rein in more radical natives. I’m putting together that analysis this week, but in the meantime, here’s the story in photos.
Phil Fontaine, Grand Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, told natives to abandon their plans for blockades and stick to “peaceful protests” (rallies and marches.) His advice was ignored by many.
Shawn Brant, an activist with the Mohawk Nation, looks exhausted as he talks with reporters on an Ontario highway. The Mohawks launched their blockades the night before the official Day of Action.
A group of Mohawks used a school bus and a campfire to shut down this highway and the Canadian National Rail line for 12 hours. A second highway was also blocked.
A young man flying a Mohawk Warrior flag leans out of his truck to peer at a news photographer at the blockade.
This masked warrior is ready for a smoke break. Masks protect the identity of activists who may be subject to police harassment for protesting.
Members of the Tsartlip First Nation and their supporters block a road on Vancouver Island on Monday to protest low standards of living and problems with the British Columbia Treaty Process. Almost all of BC is unceded First Nations territory, and dozens of land claims are languishing while the land is logged, mined, and developed with no regard for aboriginal rights and title.