Angry Canada natives say could block resource development

Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:21pm EST
 
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* Aboriginal leaders set to meet prime minister on Friday

* Many of Canada's 1.2 million aboriginals live in poverty

OTTAWA Jan 10 (Reuters) - A Canadian native leader said on Thursday that anger among the country's aboriginals is such that they could block resource development and bring the economy "to its knees" unless the Conservative government addresses a series of grievances.

Native leaders are due to meet Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Friday to discuss the poor living conditions facing many of Canada's 1.2 million aboriginals.

Activists have already blockaded some rail lines and threatened to close Canada's borders with the United States in a campaign they call Idle No More.

"We have had enough. Our young people have had enough. Our women have had enough ... we have nothing left to lose," said Grand Chief Derek Nepinak from the province of Manitoba.

Native leaders say they want more federal money and a greater say over what happens to resources on their land.

"These are demands, not requests ... the Idle No More movement has the people, it has the people and the numbers that can bring the Canadian economy to its knees. It can stop Prime Minister Stephen Harper's resource development plan," Nepinak told reporters.

"We have the warriors that are standing up now, that are willing to go that far. So we're not here to make requests, we're here to demand attention," he said.   Continued...