What won't be resolved any time soon is the crucial question of who speaks for whom. Politics at the best of times is complicated, and in keeping with this principle, native communities are in many instances divided. On the surface there's grassroots consensus around honouring treaties, "respecting the relationship," and empowering communities
Variations on an ancient indigenous practice are going viral in the social media. Called -- and you've probably heard of it already-- "Winter Challenge 2014," participants are asked to either fully immerse themselves in a body of water or, where there's snow, make snow angels while wearing swim attire or, lastly, where either of these aren't possible, getting drenched with a pail of water will do. Regardless of the method, the main idea is to get off the couch, out of the house and acquaint yourself with the winter cold.
It has become more and more urgent to -- as the proposal for a First Nations Education Act was titled -- work together for First nations students. This agreement, and the federal budget framework into which it is embedded, is an opportunity to do just that -- whatever one's skepticism and mistrust may recommend to the contrary. On the First Nation's side, the time has arrived to take both the concept and practice of self-control and self-determination to their logical conclusions. Let's call it getting our collective Indian act together.
Last year we had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness a historic meeting between a Canadian Aboriginal leader and a Maasai tribal chief. A lifelong Aboriginal activist, A-in-chut Atleo is the hereditary chief of the Ahousaht First Nation in British Columbia, and is serving his second term as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.
With a final media show, Chief Spence has now ended her 44 day "reduced food" diet. The question should now turn to what did she accomplish? Are Canadians more aware today and do they have a better understanding of the abysmal living conditions in First Nations communities? Probably not, such conditions were already well known and have been for decades.
Today's "National Day of Action" gives Chief Theresa Spence another opportunity to declare a victory over holding the government to account and another opportunity to call off her "hunger" strike. By not doing so she risks further polarizing and dividing the movement and First Nations leadership. The government is left with few options. It must still negotiate with the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) and National Chief Shawn Atleo, as it has to be seen to be engaged and working to make change possible, sooner rather than later.