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First Nations groups prepare for Sovereignty Summer

Defenders of the Land, Idle No More and other groups are organizing a 'Sovereignty Summer' for the coming months. Sovereignty Summer spokesperson Clayton Thomas-Muller says, "Communities are getting ready to make a very significant point over the summer."

APTN reported last spring, "The Defenders of the Land is an established network of Indigenous activists that was formally formed in 2008. The network has been involved in Indigenous land rights issues across the country, including in ongoing hotspots like Ontario's Grassy Narrows First Nation, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation and Barriere Lake in Quebec. The alliance has been endorsed by Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Sheelah McLean and Nina Wilson, the four founders of Idle No More, along with the movement's lead organizers, provincial and territorial chapters. As a result of the alliance, Idle No More has now agreed to support non-violent direct action, including blockades, in the cause of Indigenous rights."

The Defenders of the Land and Idle No More issued this call to action last March.

We demand that Canada, the provinces and the territories:

1. Repeal provisions of Bill C-45 (including changes to the Indian Act and Navigable Waters Act, which infringe on environmental protections, Aboriginal and Treaty rights) and abandon all pending legislation which does the same.

2. Deepen democracy in Canada through practices such as proportional representation and consultation on all legislation concerning collective rights and environmental protections, and include legislation which restricts corporate interests.

3. In accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples' principle of free, prior, and informed consent, respect the right of Indigenous peoples to say no to development on their territory.

4. Cease its policy of extinguishment of Aboriginal Title and recognize and affirm Aboriginal Title and Rights, as set out in section 35 of Canada's constitution, and recommended by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

5. Honour the spirit and intent of the historic Treaties. Officially repudiate the racist Doctrine of Discovery and the Doctrine of Terra Nullius, and abandon their use to justify the seizure of Indigenous Nations lands and wealth.

6. Actively resist violence against women and hold a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and involve Indigenous women in the design, decision-making, process and implementation of this inquiry, as a step toward initiating a comprehensive and coordinated national action plan.

The Council of Canadians has endorsed this call to action.

This week, the Globe and Mail reports, "(The Sovereignty Summer) will protest resource projects and pipelines across the country, backed up by demonstrations in cities. …Opposition will focus around the Line 9 pipeline proposal. The Line 9 focus implicates Highway 401, one of Canada's biggest and busiest thoroughfares connecting southern Ontario to Quebec."

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