Algonquin grand chief begins hunger strike over Ottawa Indigenous Peoples’ space

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OTTAWA — An Algonquin grand chief is on a hunger strike, protesting the fact her community is not an equal partner in the development of a major centre for Indigenous Peoples in Ottawa.

Grand Chief Verna Polson of the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council began her hunger strike late Monday, and it continues Tuesday with the leader also refusing water.

Polson argues the Algonquin Nation should be an equal voice in the project to turn the former U.S. Embassy across from Parliament into an Indigenous Peoples’ space.

The Algonquin Nation says it should have equal standing with Canada’s three national Indigenous organizations because the building is on unceded, traditional Algonquin territory.

The Assembly of First Nations says it supports Polson’s argument but the idea is opposed by the national groups representing Inuit and Metis.

The federal government has indicated it supports the active involvement of the Algonquin Nation, but says decisions about governance should be made by the working group leading the project.

The Canadian Press