First Nations balk at meeting with Harper, put Atleo's leadership on the line

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OTTAWA - Shawn Atleo's leadership as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations is on the line today amid demands from First Nations chiefs that he boycott talks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Support among chiefs for the meeting evaporated overnight, as First Nations leaders instead declared solidarity with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.

Spence wants both Harper and Governor General David Johnston to be present at the meeting, and now First Nations leaders say they all want to meet the two men at a wide open meeting today at their downtown Ottawa hotel.

Some of them say if Atleo persists and heads into a smaller meeting with Harper in his office instead, he will have no mandate or credibility left.

At stake is the health of Spence — who been on a liquid-only diet for a month — and peace among the Idle No More protesters that have been filling Canadian streets.

Spence, meanwhile, was expected to hold a news conference this morning to declare whether she intends to continue her hunger protest.

Organizations: Assembly of First Nations, Ottawa hotel

Geographic location: OTTAWA

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