Sault Ste. Marie MP Bryan Hayes is going back to school.
He'll be enrolling in Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig' Native Studies program, said the centre's President Darrell Boissoneau during a rally outside Hayes' office on Queen Street Wednesday afternoon.
Queen Street was closed between Elgin and Bruce Streets while members of the Idle No More Bawating movement waited outside Sault MP Bryan Hayes office for their leaders to emerge and tell them what happened.
The peaceful protest was organized to educate people, especially First Nations people, about the multitude of legislation being put forward by the Harper government to undermine the authority of the treaties.
Organizers of Idle No More say legislation like Bill - C45, passed on Friday, December 14, are in direct violation of Articles in the United Nation Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
When Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig President Darrell Boissoneau emerged form Hayes office at 369 Queen Street and took the microphone in his hand, the protestors fell silent and waited for him to speak.
"We had a long meeting with Mr. Hayes," said Boissoneau. "He listened, he was respectful, he was open to the questions being asked and, over-all, it was a very good meeting."
Boissoneau also praised the youth who attended the meeting from local Anishinaabe communities to bring forth their concerns and questions.
"As a result, Mr. Hayes has agreed and committed to a number of things - four in particular," he said.
The first was to set up a table that would facilitate dialogue with Anishinaabe youth.
The second was to enroll in Shingwauk Kinoomaage Gamig and take Native Studies there.
News of this commitment from Hayes was greeted with enthusiastic cheers from the crowd of protesters gathered on the street.
The third was to respond to each an every item students from the centre put in a letter raising their concerns to MP Hayes.
Boissoneau also told the protesters that Hayes has agreed to contact the Prime Minister and intervene on behalf of Attiwapiskat Chief Theresa Spence who is on day 10 of a hunger strike.
She wants the Prime Minister to meet with her and discuss the ramifications of Bill C-45 as well as other legislation that she says will severely and negatively effect all Anishinaabe living in Canada.
Hayes, said Boissoneau, will be asking the Prime Minister to meet with Spence and open this dialogue with her.
This news was also met with cheers and applause.
"As a result of all of you being here today our voice has been heard," said Boissoneau. "Actions will be taken but that does not mean we can stop. We must continue to make our voices heard."
Photos submitted by Joe Corbiere