UPDATE 2-Canada meets key aboriginal demand amid blockades

Fri Jan 4, 2013 4:33pm EST
 
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* Hunger strike, blockades had pressured Harper

* Spokesman says chief will continue hunger strike

* Harper says meetings sprang out of talks last year

* Unclear if blockade on U.S. border will go ahead

By Randall Palmer and Louise Egan

OTTAWA, Jan 4 (Reuters) - Canada's prime minister will meet with native leaders next week to discuss social and economic issues, an olive branch to an angry aboriginal movement that has blockaded rail lines and threatened to close Canada's borders with the United States.

Stephen Harper made no mention of the aboriginal protests in a statement on Friday announcing the Jan. 11 meeting.

But the meeting is a key demand from native Chief Theresa Spence, who has been on a hunger strike for 25 days on an island within sight of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa.

Spence's spokesman Danny Metatawabin told reporters, on the snowy ground outside her traditional teepee, that she would continue her hunger strike until she was satisfied with the outcome of next week's meeting.   Continued...