#IdleNoMore, Attawapiskat, protest, power, money and change

The Attawapiskat audit landed yesterday with a thud. Theresa Spence deemed it a distraction. An Ontario judge is unimpressed with police inaction around two Idle No More protests. Two native bands are attempting to challenge the government’s last two omnibus budget bills in court.

Jonathan Kay looks back on a January 2012 CBC report from Attawapiskat.

Paula Simons talks to Tanya Kappo, an organizer of Idle No More protests in Alberta.

C-45 was passed Dec. 5. By then, Idle No More had taken on a life of its own — a life Kappo hasn’t always recognized, as the protest movement she helped kick-start has been adopted, even hijacked, by aboriginal activists across the nation, some with conflicting agendas. “When Theresa Spence announced her hunger strike, it was totally unconnected with what we were doing. We didn’t talk to her, and she didn’t talk to us,” says Kappo. Reading about the audit of Spence’s reserve, seeing the resulting public backlash, saddened Kappo. But she says issues at Attawapiskat shouldn’t undermine Idle No More’s call to aboriginal Canadians to disavow apathy and hopelessness, and unite in action.

It’s not enough, she says, for native people to blame the government or the chiefs for their problems. “We also need to talk about the kind of things we need to do to fix our own communities,” she says. “I’m not asking for anything huge. I know how complex these issues are and how deep they are. I’m just a space-maker. I’m making a space for the next generation to speak. And it can’t be only a First Nations initiative. It can’t be government directed. We need to make a big enough space for all Canadians, so we can do something together.”

And Postmedia talks to two former aboriginal affairs ministers.




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#IdleNoMore, Attawapiskat, protest, power, money and change

  1. “But she says issues at Attawapiskat shouldn’t undermine Idle No More’s call to aboriginal Canadians to disavow apathy and hopelessness, and unite in action.”

    Two policies I find most vexatious about Canada is that we murder more than one hundred thousand babies a year and we operate an apartheid system for Natives.

    It is no coincidence that the most troubled ethnic group in Canada is the only ethnic group with its own government ministry. Indian Act brings great shame to Canada and nothing is going to change with Natives situation until the Act is abolished. Leaving Indian Act in place but making small, gradual changes is fiddling while Rome burns.

    Indian Act puts white people in charge of Natives people’s lives and many Native communities suffer from learned helplessness because white people are witless when it comes to Native culture.

    Learned Helplessness:

    Learned helplessness occurs when an animal is repeatedly subjected to an aversive stimulus that it cannot escape … while the concept is strongly tied to animal psychology and behavior, it can also apply to many situations involving human beings. When people feel that they have no control over their situation, they may also begin to behave in a helpless manner. This inaction can lead people to overlook opportunities for relief or change.

  2. After almost a month of food abstinence, I think it`s time to do a forensic audit on that fish broth.

  3. The government was there as third party managers last year and everything was all good. All of a sudden, there’s an audit – also done by the government which says otherwise! Come on people, give your head a shake here!! The government has effed up and now they are attempting to distract and make you believe that they are the innocents? Hardly likely. Do you even comprehend the amounts that actually get to communities, only after it pays salaries, etc. through various goverment office? Do you even comprehend that the cost of supplies in that northerm community are double of what you pay in southern Ontario?? Are ou aware that Chief Spence has only been Chief there for two years??? Idiots

    • Spence and her boyfriend have been involved in the financial dealings of this band for a whole lot longer. The boyfriend was handling finances prior to 2004.

      As for the audit…this was by direct request of the band and its members. It is also, by extension, a re-request by the band members in 2004. There are people on this reserve who have expressed concerns themselves about the financial management of the council elders. Spence is just the latest round. Interesting that Spence’s boyfriend is around again, and interesting that a request for an audit was made, and granted this time. Coincidence? Somehow I have a hard time believing in coincidences like this one.

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