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Former Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Derek Nepinak is fasting in a replica of Nelson Mandela's prison cell at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Nepinak will stay in an eight-by-seven foot replica jail cell, without food and drink, for 27 hours. According to a release from the CMHR, Nepinak will reflect on parallels between apartheid in South Africa and the experience of Indigenous people in Canada.

Nepinak says in a video online the intent is to recognize that while it's important to celebrate victories over colonialism and human rights abuses, Indigenous people in Canada still face the realities of colonialism and genocide.

"Nelson Mandela's life taught us that even while contained within the most oppressive and violent of racial colonial state mechanisms, love and freedom of spirit can persevere. Mandela's example should continue to not only bring us lessons in resistance but it should also bring hope to us as Indigenous people living our colonization here in the nation-state. The message here is we too can persevere and find ways to build our freedom from the confines of a colonial nation-state that denies the existence of our self-determination," says Nepinak in the video, which can be viewed on the CMHR's Facebook page.

He began his fast at 10 this morning; it will end at 1 tomorrow afternoon. The museum is closed today.

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