For those following Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike and the Idle No More "movement" -- and it seems not many of you are, but what the hell -- here's the state of play as of Sunday.
Many chiefs attended Friday's big powwow with "Call me Steve" Harpoon, but not as many as would have been desirable. Leaders from Manitoba, Québec and Ontario boycotted the affair, for reasons which weren't made clear. Ordinary Indians were not seen or heard. Perhaps the problem is too many chiefs and not enough Indians?
The Dear Leader was obviously under great pressure to give the Assembly of First Nations and its Grand Chief, Shawn Atleo, something to take back to the people. So Harper adopted the classic Canuck solution and promised, errr, further meetings "at the highest levels". Don't be surprised if a Royal Commission comes next.
Amongst those who didn't pass the peace pipe around the campfire [No more clichés, please! Ed.] Was Theresa Spence, the managerially inept chief from Attawapiskat who has become the idol of the Idle No More protesters. [You didn't say no puns! Walt] Ms Spence didn't go because she had taken the position that the Governor-General should have been at the meeting to, so if he didn't go, she wasn't going.
That didn't stop her, though, from going to Rideau Hall for the G-G's "ceremonial meeting" with the chiefs afterwards. That Her Britannic Majesty's representative met with the Indian chiefs face to face betokened (according to them) recognition that that First Nations were indeed "nations", thus the chiefs could negotiate directly with the Queen (or her stand-in) if they wished.
The logical extension would seem to be that what the Indians really want -- and that's the big question -- is something like "sovereignty association" with the rest of Canada (TROC), which is what Québec separatists have been pushing for since roughly 1867.
The idea of "separate but equal" territories -- that phrase was actually used by the Indians -- was tried in the 20th century in, errr, South Africa. It was called "apartheid". Of course when the white Africans told the black Africans that "separate development" was the way forward, the rest of the world (TROW) accused the whities of racism, genocide, yada yada yada.
Walt is waiting to see what Canada's usual gang of multicultists and "progressive thinkers" make of the idea. Come to think of it, "separate but equal" was tried in parts of the USA too. There it was called "segregation", and denounced as racist, genocidal, etc. As for apartheid, that ended in 1994 and black South Africans now run the whole country. Look how well that turned out.
Meanwhile, Chief Spence is continuing her hunger strike, for reasons which (again) have not been made clear. Some other chiefs has rather unkindly suggested that she should return to Attawapiskat and answer some questions about the missing millions referred to here last week. Members of Chief Spence's band are... hmm... restless.