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Idle No More closes Island Highway

Supporters of the Idle No More Movement, including members of the Nanoose First Nations and other aboriginal tribes around B.C. gathered for a rally and a road blockade on the Island Highway Saturday. - Lissa ALEXANDER PHOTO
Supporters of the Idle No More Movement, including members of the Nanoose First Nations and other aboriginal tribes around B.C. gathered for a rally and a road blockade on the Island Highway Saturday.
— image credit: Lissa ALEXANDER PHOTO

Traffic traveling on the Island Highway in Nanoose Bay were blocked from moving either direction for over half an hour Saturday, as supporters of the Idle No More movement gathered for a protest.

Members of First Nations’ tribes around B.C, as well as other supporters, gathered at the Nanoose First Nation (Snaw Naw As) Hall on Harvey Rd. Saturday at 2 p.m. for a rally, as well as a ceremony to honour their ancestors, their water and their rights, said member Brian Bob.

Natasha Bob, council member with Nanoose First Nation, said she wanted to participate in the movement and support Theresa Spence (Chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation), but she also wanted to bring attention to her people’s needs in Nanoose Bay.

“I want to get the message out to the community about our own pressing needs, namely the highway speed,” she said. “We’d like to see a reduction in the speed limit for the safety of our community members and we are also concerned about Nanoose Bay. We’d like to see that our rights are recognized and the Bay protected from multi-national corporations.”

She added the Nanoose First Nations were present to remember and recognize the history of Craig Bay and would like to see the treaty process moved forward.

After about an hour of talks and ceremonial singing, the group of about 100 marched up to the Island Hwy., where police had the road blocked heading North. As protesters made their way over the median, officers also stopped traffic heading South. Protesters banged drums, sang and released feathers on the road, while motorists watched from their vehicles.

The protest remained fairly peaceful besides some members having what appeared to be heated talks with police. After about 35 minutes protesters cleared the road and made their way up the overpass and along the side of the highway.

 

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