A letter from the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC), the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper calls on the Canadian government to “listen carefully” to the concerns of Canada’s Indigenous leaders.
Harper is said to be planning to meet with Indigenous leaders in Ottawa.
The WCC letter points to the groundswell of opposition within the Canadian Indigenous community over 2012 legislation that challenges the protection of some of Canada’s lakes and waterways and ignores treaty obligations with Indigenous communities.
Protest against the legislation includes a hunger strike by Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence which began 11 December 2012, and the emergence of the Idle No More movement.
“Our member churches and the WCC strongly support and are attentive to this momentum for important issues for your country and many countries in the world,” Tveit said in the letter. “These are genuine concerns for justice and peace.
“The national and global expressions of solidarity from non-Indigenous peoples are a clear indication of how many people want to see oppression and marginalisation of Indigenous peoples replaced with just and equitable relationships,” Tveit said.