Some downtown Vancouver streets will be closed tomorrow when B.C. First Nations groups rally to bring attention to aboriginal issues on the third annual National Day of Action.

This year’s focus will be on children, poverty and education.

The Vancouver rally will move from Premier Gordon Campbell’s office to the Olympic clock at the Vancouver Art Gallery.


Doug Kelly, a member of the First Nations Summit New Relationship Action Committee, said he does not want a repeat of the radical protests seen at the Olympic clock unveilling.

“We don’t need any of the theatrics,” he said. “What we would prefer to do is draw peaceful attention to our cause in a matter that Canadians can hear us.”

With the 2010 Olympics just two years away, Dave Dennis, the vice-president of the United Native Nations, said that to him, the main objective of the protest is to entice international media to take notice of the poverty that affects aboriginal people.

“It’s important for us to realize that we have to take a page out of Tibet and realize that we’re not going to get it by issuing platitudes about relationships and reconciliation.”

Dennis said he expects an additional two to three protest marches to be held in the summer.

Tomorrow’s noon rally is expected to draw a thousand aboriginals and their supporters, but Dennis said that not everyone will be able to make it.

“Nowadays there is a lot of employment within our community, and because most of our people are on minimum wage, they can’t afford to come out to a lot of these things,” he added.