First Nations leaders in southern Manitoba are planning blockades next month at four border and provincial boundary crossings.
The Southern Chiefs Organization says the blockades will last two hours on March 20, and are aimed at drawing attention to the plight facing Indigenous people.
Grand Chief Jerry Daniels says even though Indigenous people are the original landowners, they have been relegated to society’s margins since Confederation.
He says issues such as those between the Wet’suwet’en, Coastal GasLink and the British Columbia government will not end until Canadians understand that.
The organization says Aboriginal people agreed to share their territories as a show of “deep respect” for settlers.
Daniels says he is now calling on the Canadian and Manitoba governments to end a blockade that has existed for 150 years on Indigenous economies, excluding First Nations from opportunities in sectors ranging from finance to international trade and commerce.
The affected locations include the Emerson border crossing to North Dakota, Highway 1 on the Ontario and Saskatchewan boundaries.
Daniels says the March 20th date has been selected to specifically target weekend travel.
Premier Brian Pallister says no one wants to escalate the situation at the blockades.
But he says it’s in no one’s interest for authorities to stand back while laws are being broken, because it can put people’s lives and well-being in danger.
The Southern Chiefs Organization website says it represents 34 Chiefs of Anishinaabe and Dakota First Nations in Manitoba.