Idle No More: First Nations activist movement grows across Canada

First Nations activists are gearing up for a week of rallies as part of a growing grassroots movement known as Idle No More, which has drawn together communities across the country thanks to a powerful presence online.

Supporters say they are upset about the effects of the Harper government’s policies on aboriginal communities. They want First Nations to be recognized as sovereign stakeholders in decisions affecting the country’s land and resources.

“There are many examples of other countries moving towards sustainability, and we must demand sustainable development as well,” says a manifesto published on the group’s website, idlenomore.com.

“We believe in healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities and have a vision and plan of how to build them.”

The movement has quickly gained momentum, particularly with a new generation of young, social-media savvy activists. Thousands have used the #idlenomore hashtag on Twitter to debate issues and spread information about upcoming protests.

Events across the country — from Halifax, N.S. to Red Deer, Alta. — are posted on the group’s website and on Facebook. After a round of protests on Dec. 10, more events are planned for this week, culminating in a rally on Parliament Hill on Friday.

Tanya Kappo, an Edmonton aboriginal activist who sent the first message with the #idlenomore hashtag, said discontent with the federal government has been simmering for some time and all it took was a spark.

“I’ve been feeling this sense in our communities of this great unrest,” Kappo said in a weekend phone interview.

The campaign was started by four women from Saskatchewan against a number of bills before Parliament. They are particularly critical of Bill C-45, the government’s omnibus budget legislation, which they say weakens environmental laws.

“We started discussing that and felt that we need to bring attention to this legislation,” said Jessica Gordon, one of the four, who lives in Saskatoon.

Jan O’Driscoll, a spokeswoman for Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan, said the department has made efforts to consult with aboriginal leaders. He said they continue work on pressing issues on reserves like education, clean drinking water and housing.

“While we’ve made significant strides, there is still work to be done,” O’Driscoll said in an email.

“We’ll continue to partner with First Nations to create the conditions for healthier, more self-sufficient communities.”

O’Driscoll said Duncan has also tried to reach out to Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation, who is entering the second week of a hunger strike. Attawapiskat made international news last year for its poor housing conditions.

Spence has promised to continue her strike unless the Conservative government starts showing more respect to First Nations concerns and aboriginal treaties. She wants a meeting between the Crown, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and aboriginal leaders.

The hunger strike has become a cause celebre for some First Nations activists and Spence has drawn support from all regions of the country.

The Assembly of First Nations issued an open letter to Gov. Gen. David Johnston and Harper on Sunday calling for a meeting to discuss Spence’s demands.

“All First Nations across Canada stand united and in solidarity in advancing this urgent call for action and attention,” the statement said.

Duncan has offered to meet with Spence and have his parliamentary secretary tour the reserve to ensure it has what it needs for winter.




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Idle No More: First Nations activist movement grows across Canada

  1. This comment was deleted.

    • Your a loser, get a life creep and read some history

    • Ha! Professional ignorance. It’s not just about First Nation people. ALL RACES DRINK WATER & LIVE ON SOIL. These are two things at great risk once this bill goes through. Read a book.

  2. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has passed legislation to let China’s China National Offshore Oil Corporation buy to Nexen. This takeover deal among other things puts three to six billion barrels of tar sands oil in CNOOC’s hands, would create devastating global
    climate effects if CNOOC exploits Nexen’s reserves to their fullest extent.

    Canada has also legally exited the Kyoto Protocol just today, as well as already removed the protection of over 2 million lakes and rivers – allowing tar sands development anywhere.

    And the Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) international treaty passed and can come into effect at any given moment without notice. CNOOC will be able to sue Canadian governments in tribunals if our governments do anything to counter its growing interests, including common sense environmental protections and job
    creation efforts. Keep in mind that more than 130 First Nations have signed the Save The Fraser Declaration banning Enbridge Pipeline in their territories.

    And the most damaging piece of legislation is the omnibus Bill C-45, the Federal Government vacates jurisdiction over waters, parks, fisheries, etc – and no longer has the
    responsibility and duty to consult First Nations concerning land development as legally required in our Treaties. We can no longer protect the environment for anyone.

    These new bills (there are several more to come) legally strip us of our legally binding treaty rights, which the Canadian government has no legal jurisdiction to alter or change.
    Bill C-45 is an unconstitutional bill which illegally alters long standing treaties between our two sovereign nations, effectively ending them along with our sovereign nation status. Not only does this drastically affect First Nation’s people, it also directly affects all North Americans and future generations – causing irreparable damage to the environment and its inhabitants.

    The Idle No More movement which protests these undemocratic changes has spread via social media, and has garnered around 80% sheer hatred toward us for ‘complaining about treaties and free money’ when we should be ‘working and paying taxes like everyone else’.

    Bill C-45 receives Royal Assent on Monday, which could signal the last time I can email you anything regarding this (as it can be construed as illegal under the new FIPA treaty which can go in effect at any moment without notice, and my band could be sued and be forced to pay crippling fees for months).

    I and my sovereign Nation are urgently asking for your help. We need your help to alert and inform the international community and bring in sanctions against the Harper government for these numerous illegal and unconstitutional attacks on our environment and sovereign nation… it’s our only hope to protect this great land and future generations.

    “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” – Edmund Burke

    References:

    http://www.ccbc.com/2012/12/frequently-asked-questions-about-the-canada-china-fipa-for-canadian-investors-operating-in-china/

    http://www.kamloopsnews.ca/article/20121214/KAMLOOPS0303/121219905/-1/kamloops03/fearing-worst-if-fipa-signed-with-china

    http://www.facebook.com/notes/robert-animikii-horton/breakin-it-down-here-are-some-of-the-new-bill-features-and-just-how-treaties-bre/10151195812301025

    http://canadians.org/blog/?p=18535

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16165033

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/10/18/pol-navigable-waters-protection-budget-bill.html

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-16165033

    http://rabble.ca/columnists/2012/12/cnooc-nexen-takeover-china-plays-chess-harper-plays-checkers

    http://www.timminspress.com/2012/12/14/protesting-for-a-voice-to-be-heard-in-ottawa

    http://www.savethefraser.ca

  3. STOP BILL C-45! IT WEAKENS CANADIAN ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS.
    “Environmental laws act as a safety net that defends the air, water and land all Canadians depend on. They protect wildlife and the habitat they need from disappearing. Environmental laws promote a sustainable economy by protecting our natural resources and making sure that polluters — not taxpayers — cover the costs of fixing damage to our environment. And they help balance this economic growth with the need to leave Canada in equal or better shape for future generations.

    These are just a few reasons why Canada needs strong environmental laws. And why you should stand up for them.”

    http://www.idlenomore.com
    #idlenomore
    @idlenomore
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/377448152345873

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