Ontario First Nations prepared to lay down their lives to protect lands: chiefs

A group of First Nations protesters hold hands and dance in a circle during a demonstration in Surrey, B.C., in January 2013.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

TORONTO - Five First Nations leaders in Ontario say their people are prepared to lay down their lives to protect their traditional lands.

The aboriginal chiefs are serving notice on the Ontario and federal governments, developers and the public that they'll assert their treaty rights over their ancestral lands.

They say the two levels of government haven't respected the agreements their ancestors signed more than a century ago, which gives First Nations the right to assert jurisdiction over lands and resources.

Grand Chief Harvey Yesno of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation says aboriginal people are no longer just going to engage in civil disobedience, but are prepared to die to defend their lands.

He says they'll draw a line in the stand, put a stake in the ground and tie themselves to it if that's what it takes.

Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy says they don't want to harm others, but they'll do what they must to stop any incursion on their lands.

Grand Chief of Treaty #3 Warren White says Prime Minister Stephen Harper recognizes the state of Israel, so he should treat aboriginal lands the same way.

Pte. Patrick Cloutier, a 'Van Doo' perimeter sentry, and Mohawk Warrior Brad Larocque, a University of Saskatchewan economics student, face off during the Oka Crisis in 1990.
Pte. Patrick Cloutier, a 'Van Doo' perimeter sentry, and Mohawk Warrior Brad Larocque, a University of Saskatchewan economics student, face off during the Oka Crisis in 1990.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Shaney Komulainen

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