(Photo courtesy of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation)
*This story has been edited to remove sections that were inadvertently copied from a Sun Media article by Vincent McDermott. APTN National News sincerely apologizes and regrets the error.
By Noemi LoPinto
APTN National News
EDMONTON–About 100 people blocked Hwy. 63 north of Fort McMurray, Alta., this afternoon, the main artery that leads to the tarsands.
The chief of Athabasca Fort Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) says people from more than five First Nations in and around the area took part in bringing traffic to a crawl for over two hours.
The ACFN and the Mikisew Cree Nation have been at the forefront of the battle over the tarsands for years, and ACFN has repeatedly appealed to the courts to slow down the pace of development on his traditional territory.
Adam said the anger in his community has been building for decades, but has taken on a more active form now that Bill C-45 has been passed into law.
“Prime Minister Harper can’t just do anything he wants,” said Adam. “If he wants to promote Canada as a country where dictatorship has taken root, he’s going to have a hard time.”
Thursday’s protest was also intended to show support for hunger-striking Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat First Nation in northeastern Ontario.
The protesters used their bodies to block the road, standing in both lanes with signs bearing the Idle No More banner, and shouting their support for Spence.
While there was some grumbling by motorists, Adam said the protest was mostly well- received.
“Some people flipped us the finger but we just waved back at them, “he said. “They don’t understand what is going on here in Canada all you can do is pray for them to understand what it’s all about.”
Adam said he personally was very concerned for the health and well-being of Spence.
“God forbid something happens to her. If something happens to her, Stephen Harper will not only have this bill on his hands but the life of the chief. If that happens, this country will erupt.”