Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government hasn't been good to Canada's First Nations' people. Now activists are fighting back against policies that have hurt communities already lacking enough funding for basic services like heated housing, water, food and education. They're demanding that First Nations get sovereign rights to determine the futures of their communities.
On Dec. 11, Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation started a hunger strike. She wants a meeting with the Prime Minister and First Nations leaders to talk about how they can work together to improve their communities.
Published on Jan 19, 2013
Many powerful speakers shared their heritage, wisdom and culture at an Idle No More gathering outside and through the Willowbrook mall in Langley, on Kwantlen, Katzie, Matsqui & Semiahmoo land.
All spoke of the most important need for unity, to release all anger but that which is harnessed to motivate so we can fight corporatism collectively, the true colonialism of the 21st century which by no means only threatens the indigenous populations.
Stand United with Indigenous Peoples Everywhere!
IdleNoMore is standing up for international indigenous rights. Worldwide rallies are being organized uniting all of our peoples to protect Mother Earth. What started as a quiet murmur is building to a roar! Friends of Indigenous peoples and Indigenous people everywhere are being called to stand up and do what they can starting December 21. Use rallies, twitter, Facebook, blog, phone people, whatever works! It is time to be idle no more... Now is the time to unite and protect our lands, our waters, our air, and our rights. Join the conversation at IdleNoMore.
Declare your solidarity with indigenous people and Mother Earth - Sign the Petition, take action, and pass it on!
Excerpt from blog by Wab Kinew:
To me this conversation is more than just an "Indian Thing." It is one that Canadians of all backgrounds should pay attention to, if not participate in. The ideals that are underlying this action are ones to which we all aspire, even if we may disagree on how exactly to pursue them.
5. #IdleNoMore is about Engaging Youth
When Grand Chief Derek Nepinak went on national television after he and some other leaders got into that shoving match outside the chamber, he acknowledged the Chiefs were responding to young people calling for action via social media. At the rallies held in cities like Winnipeg, Windsor and Edmonton, it has been the youth who have done the organizing, and it has been the youth who have made up the majority of attendees. Scanning Facebook and Twitter, "#IdleNoMore" has popped up in the timelines of people who typically discuss Snookie or the Kardashians. Agree or disagree with the message, Idle No More has accomplished something all Canadians want: it has young people paying attention to politics.
4. #IdleNoMore is about Finding Meaning
Much of the talk around Idle No More is about preserving indigenous culture, either by revitalizing spiritual practices, or by keeping intact what little land base we have left. The reason culture is so important is that it provides a way to grapple with the big questions in life: "Who am I?," "What am I doing here?" and "What happens after I die?" Some of the answers have been handed down as words of wisdom. Other times, you are told to go out on to the land and discover them for yourself through fasting or prayer. We need these ways. As I look around and see many fellow Canadians searching for meaning in their own lives, I think to myself perhaps they could use these ways as well.
3. #IdleNoMore is about Rights
What almost everyone carrying the Idle No More banner is calling for is meaningful consultation between the federal government and First Nations people. This is what section 35 of our constitution is all about: Aboriginal and treaty rights are recognized and affirmed, and that means we have to talk. If there is no meaningful conversation happening, it is troublesome. Aboriginal people may be the canary in the coal mine. If we overlook one section of the constitution does that mean others are in similar jeopardy?
2. #IdleNoMore is about the Environment
Idle No More started in part because of outrage that Bill C-45 reduced the number of federally protected waterways. The environment continues to be a regular topic at Idle No More protests. Dr. Pam Palmater, one of the leading voices in the Idle No More conversation, argues this is indigenous environmentalism is significant since the crown has a duty to consult with Aboriginal people before natural resource projects proceed. She says, "First Nations are Canadians' last, best hope of protecting the land, water, sky and plants and animals for their future generations as well."
1. #IdleNoMore is about Democracy
Democracy thrives when well-informed people are engaged and make their voices heard. Idle No More started with four young lawyers trying to inform the people in their communities about an issue they were passionate about. Now many people are engaged. Even more information is being shared, and even more voices are being heard. There is no one leader or "list of demands" attributable to Idle No More. While this may seem chaotic, this is what democracy is all about. Democracy is messy. Democracy is loud. Democracy is about hearing a wide ranges of voices and trying to build a path forward among them. It is not about shutting off debate or trying to rush things in through the back door.
Amazing article Pamylle ~ thank you for sharing this! I have so much respect for the people involved in this movement.
Thank you Pamylee, for sharing these very important articles regarding Idle No More.This is a great movement that is bringing the truth out about indigenous people everywhere.Their voices must be heard !! Petition,gladly signed.
This post was modified from its original form on 03 Jun, 6:44
Nearly 150 members of the Nez Perce Nation were joined by Idle No More, Wild Idaho Rising Tide (WIRT) and others in a blockade of Highway 12 in Idaho late last night to stop a megaload carrying tar sands equipment.
While most people stood on the edges of the road to support the blockaders, the manifestation included about 50 people on the highway physically stopping traffic, and was the longest blockade—at three hours—since the beginning of the megaloads shipments.
The oversized water evaporator carried in the megaload had received one permit, but bypassed approval by the U.S. Forest Service and Federal Highway Administration. The Forest Service even raised objections, but the Oregon-based shipper Omega Morgan tried to slip the megaload through unnoticed.
Judging by its position, the megaload is set to travel across Nez Perce ancestral land and a Wild and Scenic Corridor soon, so the tribal members decided to take direct action rather than wait for an injunction. Along with Idle No More and WIRT, the megaload was easily located, tracked and blocked.
In a news release, the Nez Perce stated their opposition “based on impacts to treaty-reserved resources, tribal commerce and governmental functions, federally-protected historic and cultural resources and Nez Perce national landmarks located along U.S. 12, and tribal member health and welfare.”
“I don’t look at this as a symbolic issue,” explained Silas Whitman, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribe. “Otherwise, we’d just issue a press statement, put up a few signs and just let it go. No. We’ve run out of time and initiatives. So that leaves us with disobedience, civil disobedience.”
Whitman was arrested along with more than a dozen blockaders from Idle No More and WIRT after police broke through the blockade by driving a police car through the group of people. Police used the usual tactics to break up the blockade, threatening mace, pushing activists, separating parents from children, and so on.
According to WIRT’s Facebook page, “This blockade lasted longer than any other regional megaload obstruction since the first tar sands extraction modules rolled from Lewiston area ports on Feb. 1, 2011. People are talking about further blockades on upcoming nights, perhaps in Kamiah.”
Last year marked the 50th anniversary of when Grassy Narrows First Nations people began being poisoned by mercury from a paper mill that contaminated their river upstream.
Instead of helping, Ontario is planning for another decade of clearcut logging in Grassy Narrows' watershed – a practice that further increases mercury levels in the local food chain.
Tell premiere Kathleen Wynne that you support justice for Grassy Narrows, an end to clearcutting in Grassy Narrows, and protection for water everywhere.