Amid a growing chorus of criticism from both Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals alike, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence emerged from her tepee on Victoria Island on Sunday, and appeared on CTV's Question Period.
Spence, flanked by Raymond Robinson and spokesperson Danny Metawabin, told host Kevin Newman that she will continue her all-liquid diet until a meeting between the Governor General, Prime Minister and First Nations leaders takes place.
"It's really important for the leaders of Canada to sit together including the First Nations because there's crisis in our communities....We're living in third world conditions," she said.
"When the treaty was signed it was with the Crown. It's important for all the treaty partners to be in that meeting and that includes the crown.
"The Crown promised us that she will protect our rights."
Spence says she's lost over 30 pounds since starting her 'hunger strike' on December 11th and urges her critics to come visit her and see what she's going through.
She also took the opportunity to defend herself from allegations of financial mismanagement, stemming from a scathing KPMG audit.
She called the audit — which suggested a lack of financial checks and balances on the Attawapiskat reserve — a "witch hunt."
"They came to our community 5 days, then they left for another week and then they came back 5 days," she said adding that she has agreed to comply with KPMG's recommendations.
"When you do a comprehensive audit it takes months. It doesn't take 10 days. And there were documents in the warehouse which they didn't even go look at it."
Support for Spence's hunger strike has dwindled over the past several weeks because of the KPMG audit and because of her changing demands. An Ipsos Reid poll, released last week, suggested that she had only a 29 per cent approval rating nationally.
Over the past week, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, former Prime Minister Paul Martin, former Governor General Michelle Jean and a cadre of First Nations leaders have all urged Spence to end her fast.
But, with both the Prime Minister and the Governor General resisting calls to hold a joint-assembly, that might not happen anytime soon.