* Chief held for observation, could be released today
* Aboriginal elder says Ottawa's measures "will kill us"
By Russ Blinch
Jan 24 Canadian native leaders vowed on Thursday
to carry on the fight for better living conditions as a chief at
the center of a simmering aboriginal protest movement was
hospitalized after ending her six-week hunger strike.
Chief Theresa Spence, from a remote northern Ontario
reserve, ended the strike after holding negotiations with other
aboriginal leaders and opposition lawmakers in the Canadian
"There was an awakening here," Danny Metatawabin, a
spokesman for Spence, told a news conference in Ottawa. "Now we
have to move forward."
"The fight does not end because the hunger strike ends."
Spence, who survived on a liquid diet while living in a
tepee, was hospitalized for observation and could be released
later today or Friday, Metatawabin said.
Spence traveled to Ottawa from her remote northern Canadian
reserve in December and set up camp on an island in the Ottawa
River in view of Parliament to raise awareness about poor living
conditions for natives across Canada.
She was a flashpoint in a boisterous Canadian aboriginal
protest movement called "Idle No More." It began with four women
in the province of Saskatchewan turning to Twitter and other
social networks in a bid to rally North American natives.
They were protesting legislation by Canada's Conservative
government that they say promotes resource development while
reducing environmental protection for lakes and rivers on their
"These acts, these bills, they will kill us," said Raymond
Robinson, an aboriginal elder from Manitoba who also ended a
six-week hunger strike on Thursday. "We just need our equal
Ottawa spends about C$11 billion ($11.1 billion) a year on
its aboriginal population of 1.2 million. But living conditions
for many are poor, and some reserves have high rates of poverty,
addiction, joblessness and suicide.
Canadian native groups staged a day of action earlier this
month with protests that included blocking a rail line and
slowing traffic across an Ontario-to-Michigan bridge crucial to
(Reporting By Russ Blinch; Editing by Xavier Briand)