A Red Cliff woman is in the nation’s capital this week as part of the “Idle No More” movement of solidarity with First Nation tribal people in Canada. And she’s trying to get a meeting with President Obama.
Mishkomkinaak Ikwe began her journey last Friday to Washington, D.C., thee place she calls ‘The City of Hopes and Dreams,’ "I’m sitting right now in front of the Department of Interior.”
She has a hand-carved cedar chest from the Ontario First Nation Rainy River tribe. It’s a present for President Obama, “Inside of it are the four medicines that we use as an offering for Obama to encourage the Obama Administration by urging Harper to meet with tribal communities and honor the nation to nation relationship. We really want to discourage confrontation and hostility between the First Nation people and Canada.”
Ikwe hopes the Obama administration will put pressure on Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Parliament to honor treaties, repeal legislation that lifted environmental protections on navigable waters, and ease poverty of First Nation people, “The conditions up there, you know, housing, water, sanitation, education. There’s a lot of human trafficking that directly affects indigenous women.”
Ikwe says besides the Interior Department, they have appointments with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy. But she’s still hoping for a chat with the President, "Text me. Call me. Facebook me. We’re going to do as much as we can for as long as we can. We’ve got big hopes. We’re shooting for the stars but we’ll accept the moon but we’ll keep trying the whole time we’re here.”
Ikwe will return to Red Cliff this weekend.