First Nation blogger Bartley Kives wrote about it here: An unfortunate time to protest. Kives writes:
In a province where unreconstituted racists will seize on any excuse to dismiss legitimate indigenous concerns about upholding treaty rights, economic development and environmental protection, this was counterproductive.
Don't just take that from a white guy. Although Manitoba's indigenous community appears divided over what happened Wednesday, some of its most prominent leaders are upset.
Justice Murray Sinclair issued a condemnation of the protesters' tactics. Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak, who attended the U of W event, said he wanted to hear what Fontaine had to say and said he was disappointed his predecessor didn't get a chance to speak.
I think that Fontaine should have continued to speak and the security should have removed the protesters or the facilitators handled it differently. There needs to be spaces for respectful, and even sometimes pointed, dissent. This is healthy for any group or movement. As the First Nations evolve and grow, and native people become more educated there are going to be conflicts around power, inclusion, values, etc. These need to be aired in a way that are inclusive. The problem is that in many native as well as white political and corporate institutions, dissenting voices are systematically excluded. It has been reported that chiefs in bands prevented Idle No More styled groups from protesting their decisions. This is unfortunate.
Further, it is a legitimate question to ask about the ethics surrounding a former grand chief working with an oil pipeline. Fontaine, even though he is no longer a public, elected official, is still at least morally accountable to his community around his public conduct particularly when that conduct has potential environmental and political impact on the community.