Published January 11, 2013
TORONTO – Hundreds of Aboriginal rights protesters are marching in front of Canada's Parliament as Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Aboriginal chiefs attend a summit to discuss disagreements over treaty rights.
The meeting has created divisions among the Aboriginal community. Some chiefs are boycotting the meeting Friday because Governor General David Johnston, a representative of Queen Elizabeth II, is not attending. They argue his presence is imperative because the talks center on treaty rights first established by the Royal Proclamation of 1793.
Among those boycotting is Chief Theresa Spence, who launched a hunger strike a month ago to demand the summit.
The meeting comes almost two months after Aboriginal rights protests erupted against a bill that changes environmental oversight in favor of natural resource extraction. Protesters say the bill threatens treaty rights.