Mahatma Gandhi utilized fasting as a successful tool during his political life.
His first fast was to urge miners into accepting an arbitrator to settle what had become a brutal and bloody strike. Number two was to unite the Muslims and Hindus in the noncompliance movement and third: to unify the Hindu electorate.
Gandhi never tried to force the government by fasting. It would have been a waste of his time and his life.
When Gandhi placed his health on the line it was always to unite his people. Through that unification they won their liberation from British rule plus gained the worlds admiration.
I respect the idealism of Chief Theresa Spences hunger strike but not the reason.
Yes, I understand her worry for her people and can see her want to improve their lives, but she is focusing her efforts on changing what she has not the power to change: outsiders.
There is a quotation from Dale Carnegie, A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still.
Forcing government to concede does not mean that they (government) will remain committed after the situation is defused. Democratically elected government leaders do value a life that is found to be in an emergency health situation, even when self-inflicted.
Had Chief Spence used the hunger strike action to unify her people, encouraging them to stand together to make, for example, their reserves dry reserves... if alcohol or drugs is seen as one of the reasons for the excessive suicides among their young people, then all of Canada would stand behind her.
Or had she chose the hunger strike for any of the other situations affecting the lives of First Nation's people on reserves, situations that may in fact be caused (in part) by them themselves and through her fast, asking them to correct the crippling behavior for which they are responsible.
Who would dare stand against her?
A hunger strike for any of these reasons would have had Canadians applauding her and government assistance readily available.
No one should support a person or a group that is trying to hold a country to ransom.