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Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:08 AM

aboriginal chiefs, canada pm meet amid protests


Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, front, of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs meets up with aboriginal protestors as they march from Victoria Island to Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. The highly politicized meeting between Prime Minister Steven Harper and First Nations leaders is underway, taking place in the prime minister's Langevin Block office despite pleas that it be moved. About 20 First Nations leaders attended the meeting, representing most areas of the country, even after a tumultuous night of talks that saw chief after chief reject the meeting because it was not on their turf or on their terms. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Patrick Doyle)

TORONTO (AP) -- Thousands of Aboriginal rights activists protested Friday in front of Canada's Parliament as Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Aboriginal chiefs attended a summit to discuss disagreements over treaty rights and other grievances.

The meeting divided the Aboriginal community, with some chiefs boycotting the summit because Governor General David Johnston, a representative of Queen Elizabeth II, did not attend. They argued his presence is imperative because he's a representative of the British monarchy and the talks center on treaty rights first established by the Royal Proclamation of 1793.

The meeting between Harper, other top government officials, National Chief Shawn Atleo and 20 other native Canadian leaders ended late Friday with plans to meet again within a month to continue the dialogue on treaties and comprehensive land claims, said Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan.

Atleo declared that Harper has finally agreed to modernize and implement the ancient treaties that were always supposed to bring peace and prosperity to First Nations.

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