“Idle No More” has sprung up across Canada as a fight back against the continuing genocidal treatment of Indigenous peoples, and is currently spreading throughout the U.S. and Europe. First Nations have taken a stand and will not be silent any longer.
The movement began as four women—Nina Wilson, Sheelah McLean, Sylvia McAdam and Jessica Gordon—gathered to discuss the proposed Bill C-45 and other legislation in Canada that would affect not only Indigenous people but also the land and water rights for the rest of Canada. The women decided to call a rally to inform the public that this bill intended to, without consent, give the Minister of Indian Affairs the power to surrender the lands reserved. The women felt this would ultimately make room for oil, nuclear and gas industries to tear up the land for profit.
The initial stated mission of Idle No More calls on all people to “join in a revolution which honors and fulfills Indigenous sovereignty and protects land and water. Colonization continues through attacks on indigenous rights and damage to the land and water. We must repair these violations, live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work towards justice in action, and protect Mother Earth.”
Since the first rally on Dec. 10 momentum has been building, largely because of the stand taken by Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat, who has gone on hunger strike in protest of the government’s failure to meet the needs of First Nations people. As of Dec. 20 Chief Spence was on the ninth day without food. She is in a teepee within sight of the Canadian Parliament building, and her only only request right now is for a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, along with other leaders of the government, for a discussion on Bill C-45 and others that continue to further the genocide of First Nations people, and to demand that the treaty of 1905 be honored. That treaty gives First Nations people the right to govern their own people, control their own lands and to be treated as equals. Chief Spence said, “I am willing to die for my people.”
Instead of equal treatment, First Nations people 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. Some of the poorest communities are First Nations, such as Attawapiskat, who do not share in the profits from their own lands. Canada has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world by using land and resources. Canadian mining, logging and fishing industries are among the most powerful in the world, exploiting not only First Nations lands, but lands around the world such as Iraq, Afghanistan and countries in South America.
Indigenous people all throughout their history have demonstrated their will to fight back against all odds. This is another battle against a government that wants to eradicate them from their lands and this earth. In this latest fight they have they have shown resolve against these new set of bills, with blockades, banner drops and attempted takeovers of legislative offices. Many more actions are planned on Dec. 21 and 22 across Canada, as well as major actions in Los Angeles and San Francisco and other major cities around the world. Visit idlenomore.com for actions in your area.
Organizers have said, “When we stand strong and believe in our ways and assert acts of nationhood,it does not matter what amount of legislation the federal government introduces or passes because it is not with our consent and therefore is not applicable. We will continue to rise up and make our presence known across Turtle Island, the land that is rightfully ours as our Creator put us here. Stand UP -Rise Up -This Fight is not over. we need all of you in this -We Shall Persevere. “