December 11, 2012

Origin of Idle No More

How the "Idle No More" movement started:

The tweet that sparked a movement

By Kenneth JacksonSitting in her home in Edmonton Tanya Kappo typed #Idlenomore on her Twitter account on November 30th to promote an event of the same name happening in Alberta a few days later.

It was retweeted by seven people.

It was that tweet that started it all.

And it shows no signs of letting up.

Idle No More became more than just a phrase or name; it’s an all encompassing feeling of First Nation frustration that has taken on a life of its own on social media websites. And it was the name of a country-wide day of action in various cities Monday that saw thousands take part in demonstrations to voice their displeasure with the federal government over legislation they say aims to rob them of their identity, land and self-worth.

What the movement wants:

The natives are restless. Wondering why?

By âpihtawikosisânAlthough thousands of indigenous people all over Canada rallied together under the banner of Idle No More on December 10th, there has been very little media coverage on the movement. Most of what is being said in the mainstream media is focused on Bill C-45. I’d like to make it clear…they’re getting it wrong.

Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat did not launch a hunger strike over a single piece of legislation. The women who are planning on supporting her in a nationwide fast, in relay, are not doing this because of a single piece of legislation. Canada, this is not just about Bill C-45.

Then what? What is the problem?

I’m going to go to the Idle No More page and click on “Manifesto.” I think it’s important you read this in its entirety rather than just have me excerpt it for you:

We contend that:

The Treaties are nation to nation agreements between Canada and First Nations who are sovereign nations. The Treaties are agreements that cannot be altered or broken by one side of the two Nations. The spirit and intent of the Treaty agreements meant that First Nations peoples would share the land, but retain their inherent rights to lands and resources. Instead, First Nations have experienced a history of colonization which has resulted in outstanding land claims, lack of resources and unequal funding for services such as education and housing.

We contend that:

Canada has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world by using the land and resources. Canadian mining, logging, oil and fishing companies are the most powerful in the world due to land and resources. Some of the poorest First Nations communities (such as Attawapiskat) have mines or other developments on their land but do not get a share of the profit. The taking of resources has left many lands and waters poisoned–the animals and plants are dying in many areas in Canada. We cannot live without the land and water. We have laws older than this colonial government about how to live with the land.

We contend that:

Currently, this government is trying to pass many laws so that reserve lands can also be bought and sold by big companies to get profit from resources. They are promising to share this time…Why would these promises be different from past promises? We will be left with nothing but poisoned water, land and air. This is an attempt to take away sovereignty and the inherent right to land and resources from First Nations peoples.

We contend that:

There are many examples of other countries moving towards sustainability, and we must demand sustainable development as well. We believe in healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities and have a vision and plan of how to build them.

Please join us in creating this vision.

In short, this is what we have always been talking about. Whether the particular focus has been on housing, or education or the environment, or whatever else. What lies at the heart of all these issues is our relationship with Canada. And Canada? This relationship is abusive.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Idle No More Day of Action and Children Demand Fairness for Natives.

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