Idle No More

We fought for your rights in 1812: Fight for Ours

I am in full support of Idle No More and Chief Theresa Spence’s now perilous hunger strike in a tipi across from Canada’s Parliament buildings in Ottawa. Chief of the beleaguered town on Attawapiskat in Ontario, where inadequate housing has led to a level of misery that attracted even UN censure, Spence is engaged in a desperate gambit to force PM Harper to speak with her.

Idle No More, a nation-wide First Nations protest against Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s erosion of native sovereignty, consultation and environmental regulation is fast gaining strength and allies in Canada and abroad. In addition to Chief Spence’s protest over Attawapiskat and government interference  there, the Prime Minister’s omnibus budget bill C-45, which contained a bludgeon obliterating all manner of environmental regulation and local controls, has not surprisingly been met with First Nations protest. And it is only the latest in a string of bills eroding rights; Bill C-54 was just as disastrous to environmental protection and First Nations rights and sovereignty.  It destroyed the Fisheries Act and Environmental Assessment among other law, close to 70 in all, with no debate or discussion. These things combined have precipitated a movement that Stephen Harper will have great difficulty putting down, and whose magnitude he probably hasn’t even clocked yet.

I have never witnessed anything like this in Canada in my lifetime. The level of First Nations unanimity in BC even before Idle No More, precipitated by and in opposition to oil tanker traffic and/or pipelines in BC, and in particular to the high-handed actions of the federal government and its corporate allies in Enbridge, were stunning enough. But Idle No More represents a sea change in Canada. It is very unlikely that it can be stopped, it will undoubtedly do serious damage to the Stephen Harper/Conservative Party of Canada government, and it’s almost certain to alter the political landscape not to mention the way in which this country views itself.

Must reads (this list will be periodically updated):

Follow Chief Theresa Spence on Twitter.

Pamela Palmater:  Why we are Idle No More

First Nations UBC professor Glen Coulthard: Idle No More in Historical Context

Dulce et Decorum: The Indian Act in Plain English

Superb breakdown by Chelsea Vowel in âpihtawikosisân & National Post:  The real math behind Attawapiskat’s $90 million

Rabble (Am Johal):  Justice at stake: Chief Theresa Spence passes Day 15 of hunger strike

Al Jazeera:  First Nations #IdleNoMore on day of action

Guardian: Canada’s First Nations protest heralds a new alliance – The grassroots IdleNoMore movement of aboriginal people offers a more sustainable future for all Canadians

Marc Garneau, former Canadian scientist and astronaut, Member of Parliament:  An open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper: Let our words not be empty

Idle No More blog

Toronto Star: Pressure mounting for Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet Attawapiskat chief on hunger strike

I am an ally. I am not First Nations, Metis or Inuit. I am Canadian. I support human rights, the protection of our environment and our democracy, and the notion that our elected government should act honestly and honourably in carrying out its obligations to all  its people.

Lastly, see this.


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2 Responses to “Idle No More”

  1. Dorothy Field Says:

    Canada has treated First Nations with the utmost disrespect over many centuries. The time is now to change this broken relationship.

  2. Irene Vaughan Says:

    The Native People of Canada are yet again fighting for our nation. It is time we stood with them and let our voices be heard. This is not only a First Nation’s issue. What the Harper governement has done through recently passed bills is to have taken away everything accomplished by environmentalists in the past 5o years. All this was done in order to build this Enron oil pipe line through environmentally sensitive land, lands belonging to the First Nation. However these same changes also affect environmentally sensitive land in all other parts of Canada. This governement has gagged scientist by insisting they present their thesis for approval before they publish. Recently they have shut down a world reknown scientific lake project that studies the effects of chemicals in our environment used in our daily living. In addition they have dismissed thousands of environmental assessments across Canada. They have also made changes to the Fisheries Act, that protect the fish but not their habitat!
    I believe in the sovereignty of the First Nations. I also believe with this sovereignty comes accountability. The manner in which funding is spent by the First Nation’s leaders must be transparent. However, if you agree with this statement don’t let it become a red herring and blind you from what the issue is really about. It is about building a pipe line, at all costs, with no regard for the environment or the people it will affect. It affects you and your children, and children of the future.
    Idle no more. Stand up and let your government know you care about your envirionment and what our First Nation’s people are fighting for.

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