Cornwall, ON, Jan 04, 2013 — A group of Mohawks is planning to march on the bridge to Canada near Massena, NY, and shut down traffic Saturday. The demonstration is a part of an indigenous rights movement that's spread across Canada.
The Idle No More movement has spread across Canada quickly, largely via Twitter and Facebook. First Nations people have blockaded rail lines and held flash mob round dances at shopping malls during the holiday season.
They're protesting a bill by Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, known as omnibus bill C-45. Many First Nation people say it violates treaty and aboriginal rights in the Canadian constitution.
Saturday at 10:00 a.m., people from Akwesasne are gathering on the U.S. side of the bridge to Canada. Organizer Jose Verdugo says they plan to walk across the bridge to Cornwall Island and eventually to Canadian customs in Cornwall. State police in Massena say they're aware of the march.
I spoke with Verdugo via a Facebook chat because he says he doesn't have a phone. He says the march is peaceful - a chance for aboriginal people to "come together as one".
Verdugo says he believes the marchers will halt traffic while they're walking on the bridge. The demonstration will take place at the same time as another at the Peace Bridge between Buffalo and Fort Erie, Ontario.
A St. Regis Mohawk Tribe spokesman said the tribe has no comment. A call to the council governing the Canadian side of Akwesasne wasn't returned.