Call­ing on gov­ern­ment

Protests at HMP sur­round­ing the de­tain­ment of three Inuit el­ders from Labrador con­tinue

The Western Star - - Front Page - BY SADIE-RAE WER­NER SPE­CIAL TO SALTWIRE NET­WORK

Nu­natsi­avut pres­i­dent wants land pro­tec­tor moved from HMP.

Pro­test­ers be­gan to gather in front of Her Majesty’s Pen­i­ten­tiary (HMP) at 2:30 p.m. on Wed­nes­day to con­tinue the on­go­ing protest against the de­ten­tion of Marjorie Flow­ers, Jim Learn­ing and El­dred Davis, mem­bers of the Labrador Land Pro­tec­tors.

On Mon­day, Nu­natsi­avut Pres­i­dent Jo­hannes Lampe sent a let­ter to Lib­eral Pre­mier Dwight Ball in which he said, “The in­car­cer­a­tion of Marjorie Flow­ers at Her Majesty’s Pen­i­ten­tiary in St. John’s is un­nec­es­sary and im­moral,” and that as an In­dige­nous Cana­dian ci­ti­zen she is merely pro­tect­ing her cul­ture and way of life.

Lampe called upon Pre­mier Ball to ad­vo­cate on Flow­ers’ be­half as the min­is­ter of In­dige­nous Af­fairs.

In a news re­lease Wed­nes­day, Lampe stated, “To have a wo­man in­car­cer­ated at a men’s prison is shame­ful and dis­re­spect­ful, and will do very lit­tle in ad­vanc­ing rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and re­new­ing the na­tion-to-na­tion re­la­tion­ship be­tween the Gov­ern­ment of New­found­land and Labrador and the province’s In­dige­nous peo­ples.”

Ac­cord­ing to St. John’s Cen­tre MHA Gerry Rogers, who is the NDP’s jus­tice critic and who vis­ited Flow­ers at HMP on Tues­day, Flow­ers has not voiced any re­quest to be moved else­where.

The NDP has writ­ten to Ball ask­ing him to take ac­tion on the de­mands be­ing made by mem­bers of the Labrador Land Pro­tec­tors.

“They are not the de­mands only of the Land Pro­tec­tors, but de­mands be­ing made by peo­ple all over the province and they are rea­son­able, they are ac­tion­able and he must take lead­er­ship and he must act on them im­me­di­ately,” Rogers says.

The pro­test­ers at HMP have been keep­ing up to date with the sit­u­a­tion in Labrador as much as they can with the help of the fam­i­lies of the de­tained.

“I know for sure we won’t see any­thing from the Gov­ern­ment of New­found­land be­cause Min­is­ter Par­sons, the jus­tice min­is­ter, has said he can’t pub­licly in­ter­vene and the pre­mier won’t do any­thing,” says pro­tester An­gus An­der­sen.

This sen­ti­ment was com­mon among the pro­test­ers, who be­lieve any sup­port they re­ceive will be found out­side the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

“I’m that glad that they ac­tu­ally wrote a let­ter, both Nu­natsi­avut and Nu­natukavut, but it’s easy to write a let­ter and say, ‘OK, what you’re do­ing is wrong.’ Any­one can do that, but the writ­ing is not as pow­er­ful as com­ing here to stand with us,” An­der­sen said in re­sponse to the ac­tions of the two In­dige­nous gov­ern­ments.

“I think ev­ery voice is use­ful,” pro­tester Josh Lehr said about the let­ter sent to the pre­mier.

The pro­test­ers would like to see the gov­ern­ment meet three de­mands of the Labrador Land Pro­tec­tors — a re­view of the sta­bil­ity of North Spur, an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee on the dan­gers of methylmer­cury and a foren­sic au­dit of Nal­cor.

The also want “the in­junc­tions dropped and these peo­ple freed in court,” says pro­tester Adam Dyson of Labrador

Me­lanie Cuz, an Ojibwa pro­tester, said she hopes “to bring more aware­ness to the im­por­tance of In­dige­nous is­sues and how much we can help the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. … It’s im­por­tant we all get to­gether as broth­ers and sis­ters even though we are very di­verse.”

SADIE-RAE WER­NER/SPE­CIAL TO SALTWIRE NET­WORK

Pro­tester Sara Tilley out­side Her Majesty’s Pen­i­ten­tiary on Wed­nes­day.

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