A Tk'emlups elder is making good on her promise to embark on a hunger strike in support of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.
On Wednesday morning, Evelyn Camille entered a sweat lodge on her West Shuswap Road property intending to forgo food and water for as long as seven days.
"It all depends on my (spiritual) helper," she said. "And I don't want to worry my children or grandchildren."
Spence is on her 24th day of fasting in Ottawa in an attempt to gain an audience with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the troubles facing First Nations communities.
Her actions have inspired the Idle No More movement, which has swept the nation.
Camille, a former Tk'emlups Indian Band (TIB) council member, said she wants to replace Spence in her fast so Spence can "replenish her health" from a diet of only tea and broth
Camille said she isn't protesting but rather raising awareness over problems with the federal government's omnibus Bill C-45 and its perceived removal of First Nations traditional rights.
She hopes her action unites all First Nations chiefs under the Idle No More banner.
"(I want) our chiefs especially to become strong and to band together so that Harper will be able to listen," she said.
TIB Chief Shane Gottfriedson has said he doesn't oppose the Idle No More movement, but isn't taking part or allowing rallies on band land because his council has its own way of dealing with the federal government.
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo Conservative MP Cathy McLeod believes the Idle No More movement's opposition to Bill C-45 is misguided.
"I've heard people say that (the bill) is going to completely erode the reservations and the land. And it's not," she said. "It's about enabling choices for the band that are less mired.
"Sun Rivers (development) had incredible roadblocks and it was a choice of the band to move forward on that."
McLeod said she's asked her office to reach out to Camille to ask if she wants to discuss her concerns. She added she's worried about Camille.
"I know Evelyn very well. I do worry," she said. "People who go without food or water, it's very hazardous to her health."
Camille said she's held fasts of this nature before. She said she'll spend her time in contemplation and praying, and also wants to review Bill C-45 if she can get a copy.
As she entered the sweat lodge, Camille carried with her an eagle feather symbolizing the spiritual guidance she intends to follow.
She also gained spiritual support from a fire outside her sweat lodge, which burns 24 hours a day as long as she remains in the lodge thanks to numerous firekeepers — mainly Camille's many children and grandchildren.
"The eagle and the fire are the ones that take the messages to the Great Spirit," she said. "The eagle is the one that has the eyes that see into the future . . . we ask for direction from the eagle to help us in the things that we do."
Meanwhile, the president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said on Wednesday that he believes the Idle No More movement will continue to gain momentum.
He's preparing for a weekend rally at a major border crossing south of Vancouver.
Chief Stewart Phillip says an event is planned for Saturday at the Peace Arch border crossing in Surrey.
He also predicts continued rail blockades such as the one in Sarnia, Ont., or Sunday night's nearly five-hour halt along the main Via Rail corridor between Montreal and Toronto.
Phillip says grassroots activism will gather strength through 2013 as supporters fight the federal government's omnibus budget legislation and extend their concerns to broader issues such as inequality and treaty rights.
Idle No More leader Pamela Palmater has already noted protests are evolving to include more civil disobedience, although organizers did not endorse calls for blockades at Canada-U.S. borders on Saturday.