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Robinson returns to Manitoba after ending 43-day fast

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Raymond Robinson (left) and Chief Garrison Settee (right) arrive at  the James A. Richardson International Airport Friday, after Robinson ended a six-week fast  with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.

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Raymond Robinson (left) and Chief Garrison Settee (right) arrive at the James A. Richardson International Airport Friday, after Robinson ended a six-week fast with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence. (WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

Supporters greeted Pimicikamak Cree elder Raymond Robinson at the Richardson International Airport with long embraces, tears and a lot of singing.

The Cross Lake family man and hunter ended his fast with Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence after 43 days Thursday and flew to Winnipeg from Ottawa Thursday, on his way back home.

Traditional Ojibwa honour songs rose over the beat of hand drums as he stepped off the escalators just before 10 a.m. with Northern Manitoba Grand Chief David Harper and his own chief Garrison Settee. Tears stood in his eyes for a Dene honor song by a singer from northern Manitoba.

Robinson spoke emotionally as he reflected on the experience at Victoria Island, voice cracking as he described times when he thought he would not survive the fast on tea and fish broth. He said he did it to bring awareness to aboriginal and non aboriginal Canadians to stand against new federal laws that he said erode treaty rights and environmental laws.

"You drink the same water I drink, the same food as well. We have to come together to stop this destruction... all of us in Canadian society. We are in this together," Robinson said.

He rejected media coverage that he and Spence were pressured to end the fast. "We ended our hunger strike on our own terms. Not anybody else's. I want you to get that across."

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