#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.