DECEMBER 11, 2012


On October 28, 2011, Chief Theresa Spence called on the Ontario government to declare a state of emergency in her tiny community of 1,800. In early December 2012, the nascent Idle No More movement, started by four Aboriginal women in Saskatchewan, focused on the government’s omnibus budget legislation Bill C-45, and its changes to rules governing environmental assessments of waterways and the leasing of Aboriginal lands. On December 11th, Chief Spence began her hunger strike in a tipi on Victoria Island, near Parliament Hill in Ottawa. Her stated intent was to focus public attention on Indigenous issues, support for Idle No More, and highlight concerns about Bill C-45. Her strike ultimately led to Prime Minister David Harper meeting with indigenous leaders. Spence’s strike ended January 24, 2013.  Her protest attracted worldwide attention to the Idle No More movement.

 Nick Taylor-vaisey, “Theresa Spence,” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 2/10/2013, updated 11/6/2018.  Retrieved 6/26/2022, Theresa Spence | The Canadian Encyclopedia
Gloria Galloway, “As protests swell, Attawapiskat chief stands firm on hunger strike,” The Globe and Mail, 12/26/12. Retrieved 6/25/2022, As protests swell, Attawapiskat chief stands firm on hunger strike - The Globe and Mail
“Idle No More protesters stall railway lines, highways,” CBC, 1/16/2013.  Retrieved 6/5/2019,
Photo:  Moxy, 1/11/2013.   Permissive Use

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