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Activist Communique: Manitoba Elder Raymond Robinson agrees to end fast despite the lack of dialogue with Stephen Harper

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Manitoba Grand Elder Raymond Robinson agreed to break his fast on Tuesday at 12:01 am after having fasted without food or water since Wednesday April 3, 2013 at 9:00 am.

This was Elder Robinson’s second fast to protest the Harper government’s lack of meaningful dialogue with First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities across Turtle Island. He also participated in a fast along side Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence when Idle No More was in full swing in late 2012 and early 2013.

Vigils were hosted across the nation, eight in Canada, two in American cities and one in Germany on Monday evening to support Robinson on his fast, which was on day five.

In Toronto, at Native Family and Child, the men’s big drum and the community hand drum group dedicated the AIM Unity song for Robinson at 7:00 pm while a small crowd braved the pouring rain at City Hall for a candlelight vigil.

According to Monday’s press release and call out for vigils, supporters of the Grand Elder noted, “It is unbelievable, and unacceptable, that this country has come to a point where First Nations Peoples are literally starving themselves just to get a meeting from a Prime Minister who is enacting radical genocidal legislation taking aim at First Nations, the environment, and the Canadian people.”

On Friday April 5, 2013, Raymond met with Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt only to have the Minister literally laugh in his face and refuse his request to meet with Stephen Harper without any negotiation. Raymond offered to end his hunger strike in return for a meeting between First Nations Chiefs and the Prime Minister on a Nation to Nation basis.

In a statement from Grand Elder Raymond on April 7, 2013, he said, “As a Grand Elder have a duty and an obligation to always live by the sacred teachings that have been handed down by the First Elder, our Creator; I pray for people regardless of race, creed, or belief. I pray that people work together for the stability and cohesiveness and well being of all common men and women. I pray for this world to aspire to work together. And that is what I’m doing on this fast without food and water.

I encourage everybody to always aspire to come from the same respect, to always come from the natural laws of life; for that is the real red road. These natural laws are; respect, honor, humility, honesty, truth, courage, and wisdom. These seven natural laws are intertwined, they are in balance. One cannot go without the other, they must always come as one, for when you break one, you break them all. Not only do you break them with the creator, but we also break them with ourselves, with Mother Earth. So I encourage you to always come from that respect."

Despite not meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the lack of a Nation-to-Nation relationship between First Nations communities and the Canadian government, Elder Robinson ended his fast on Tuesday after five days and eleven hours. He gave no public reason for breaking his fast but did tell supporters on Tuesday he felt positive over the progress of dialogue during the week.

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