Idle No More

As much as I want to do a very in depth article on why  ‘the natives are restless’, I just don’t have the time right now. (Faye Morning Bull has put together an excellent summary on some of the legislation you should know about available in PDF form here: Termination.)  I’ll get to it eventually, but I’m writing this because there is something important happening, and most Canadians don’t seem to be aware of it yet.

Today, in cities and communities all across the country, indigenous peoples are rallying together to speak out against a rash of hastily shoved-through pieces of legislation created without First Nations consultation. Legislation that promises to have serious implications for aboriginal rights.  However, that is not the sum total of the issues being addressed. The ongoing and unhealthy colonial relationship Canada has with indigenous peoples is at the root of this, and finds expression in so many problems from environment to health to incarceration to suicide to education to violence and so on.

Rallying under the cry of “Idle No More“, this truly grassroots movement is swelling as people take to social media in a way I can honestly say is unprecedented. If you’re looking for one unified message, you’re not going to find it…unless it’s “hey Canada, you need to start taking our concerns seriously.”

There is a place in this for non-indigenous allies. This movement is not just about rallies and protests. The Idle No More movement is about on the ground acts of resurgence. If this is the first time you’re hearing about this, take some time to see what people are doing and saying, both on the ground, and in social media. We have the opportunity here to create and sustain something very important. What gets done is entirely up to the people.

If you have questions, please ask them. Part of what I am committed to is trying to make these issues clearer for all people, indigenous and non-indigenous alike, and your questions and comments help that to happen.

To all my relations who are getting out there today to stand in solidarity with one another, my thanks and prayers. I hope that we continue to be Idle No More in the many long days ahead of us.

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34 Responses to Idle No More


  1. Brian says:

    Thanks for that. I’ve bookmarked the site & signed up for emails

  2. john lavers says:

    i remain horrified at the conditions on reserves, but more horrified at the attitude of most canadians i talk to. i post on folk music chat list as i still play traditional music. whenever issues of native people come up there are a slew of post “proving” that natives destroyed the enviornemt, or that they take advantage of the rich government handouts , or the like. these are usually relatively progressive people, but any mention of native rights brings out the fantasy based bigotry.

    i also remain disgusted by the fakery of the truth and reconcilliation commission. right now they are sueing the bovernment to release residental school documents in governemtn possession. how can a truth and reconcilliation cpmmission be legitimate without free access to those document from the government , but also from the churches as well–the churches are even less forthcomming with documents.

    i’d like to hear more aborigional people’s opinions on these issues, and keep us posted on idle no more

    • On the TRC, the lack of commitment to the process on the part of the Canadian government is a disgrace.

    • Perry Bulwer says:

      More accurately, it is the fakery of the Harper government, not the TRC. The TRC is actually accomplishing some good things which I think are legitimate, but it will not be complete without all those withheld documents.

      Regarding a place for non-Indigenous allies, I am not Indigenous but my brother, sister and all their children are, and their lives have been affected by the IRS system, so I take this personally. One private action I’ve taken so far is to complain to the CBC management about anti-Indigenous racism on the CBC website comments sections. The reaction I’ve gotten is similar to the Harper government’s response to Indigenous issues. I was ignored.

      I first started the complaint process last spring, after the crisis in Attawapiskat blew up. Though racist commentary was more prevalent on other news sites, such as the Globe & Mail and National Post, CBC has a legislated mandate regarding Indigenous peoples that I think is violated by allowing anti-Indigenous commentary on its website. At every stage of CBC’s formal complaint process I was ignored.

      Having exhausted all other complaint avenues, I wrote to the CBC President, since the CBC Ombudsman reports directly to him. My letter went unanswered, so I wrote a follow-up letter to each director on CBC’s board. That finally prompted a reply from the President’s assistant, but it was a disingenuous, non-response to my complaint, referring me back to the Comment Moderation Manager who had ignored me in the first place. Everyone at CBC, from the President down to website staff, denied that racist, anti-Indigenous comments are ever posted on their website, brushing the issue off as just a matter of opinion.

      I explained in my letters to the President and Board that I intended to send copies of my correspondence with CBC to the TRC, because I believe that the CBC has a duty to the Indigenous peoples that corresponds to the goals of the TRC. So, that’s what I did. It is a small action almost no one knows about, and I do not know if it will have any effect at all, but at least it is part of the historical record, an example of how difficult it is to get the settler culture to recognize anti-Indigenous racism even when its staring us in the face.

      • daveM says:

        My attempts have also been ignored and I am at a loss as to what I can do. My issue is that I would like to see some native Canadians in the commercials, not a big deal but I do not recall seeing many people from our FirstNations communities in commercials.

        My second issue id that Canada seems to be wanting to bring immigrants to Canada to fill vacant positions and a newly announced initiative to offer skills training to immigrants when we have some people here that could use the training opportunities. It is my belief that if we are to offer decent education to the people that live here then we will reduce the amount of poverty that people love to complain about.

        Somehow… our society has become used to or blinded by the amount of discrimination and prejudice that we practice on a daily basis.

        At some point Canadians are going to have to accept and acknowledge the fact that we are a racist society and unwilling to change.

  3. daveM says:

    This action of the legislation is affecting all Canadians, all Canadians are losing their rights and freedoms as the government is ramming legislation that restricts Canadians. For some reason we have been too apathetic and all Canadians have to become more vocal.

  4. The hearts of the women are NOWHERE near being on the ground. Very impressed to see that this whole thing was started by 4 women in Saskatchewan. http://www.netnewsledger.com/2012/12/10/idle-no-more-aboriginal-people-and-groups-plan-day-of-action-and-peaceful-protest/

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  6. Kiley says:

    Is there a french translation for “idle no more” or any hub/list-serve movement in Montreal? I feel this is more important than the student strike but so far can’t find any good resources.

  7. daveM says:

    Has this article been submitted to Huffington Post….?

  8. Kelly Hryciw says:

    As a Metis women who worked in the federal prison system for fifteen years I believe I have witnessed the outcome of years of neglect, disregard and outright racism and hatred. The stereotypes perpetrated on indigenouse peoples can be rampant within the walls and often there was lateral violence as well.
    Cultural genocide is taking place in this land we call Canada while so many look the other way. Within the walls my heart often broke as I heard the stories that were shared. We do not need to self destruct any longer. We need to look at the tools that were slyly offered to us to kill ourselves quietly and just go away. Those tools include racism, colonization, residential schools, religion, alcohol, drugs, tobacco and loss of freedom.
    As we look back many years , there has been a steady process to destroy and annihilate Indigenous peoples so the land can be taken away. Such a long history of systematic, well organized and insidious violence perpetrated against the indigneous peoples of this land.
    I agree it is time to stand up, however total organization in my opinion is essential. Pockets of protest have been tried before. All over this land there are indigenous people in trouble, who are dying , who are altering their states so they can get through another day, who are waking up in a prison cell, often segregated. There are children going to school with little clothing and no food. I could go on however in our indigenous hearts we must come to know what has happened to us is wrong, will remain wrong. We can learn from this long life lesson. Now is the time to learn just not in isolation.
    What has gone on before has broken the spirits and minds of many indigenous people. We have been labelled, documented and processed, especially the ones who live through the foster care, and prison systems.
    In summary we need to stand together, communicate together, use the social networking systems and all the other current forms of communications.
    If we are truly saying Idle No More, the road ahead will be long. We can not forget the ones who are incarcerated either. Only we can fight for our own spirits back, our own hearts and the lives of those yet to come.
    Reslient we have been or no one would be hear to write or read what is being written.
    Chelsea, I dont know you, but I am proud of you. Go well on this journey. You are inspiring many people.

    • daveM says:

      Your comment makes me sad and angry at the same time. In a land of plenty, to know that children are suffering and hungry is appalling. To accept that we are racist bigots is really hard, we must change our ways in Canada!

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  12. douglasjack says:

    Lets make sure that Idle-No-More celebrates & animates everyone to live in abundance, love & harmony. What would Turtle Island & the world be like if Europeans had politely immigrated, respecting the abundance, laws, customs & welcome of First Nations such as the Two Row Wampum treaty entailed? We would be living in abundance, harmony & peace beyond our greatest dreams. What will it take to bring us back to this life-commitment?

    Indigene Community celebrates the ‘indigenous’ (L ‘self-generating’) heritage of every person from ever place on earth so that everyone can find their place again through their own inherent memories. Beyond such ancient recall, 60% of peoples today hold First Nation ancestry. 85% of First Nations hold worldwide ancestry. We are one mixed people today. http://www.indigenecommunity.info

    There is a problem of emotional (affective) detachment from the world, life & people, which extends from those who have bought-into the ‘exogenous’ (Latin ‘other-generated’) 2-D economic system. Deep within the European is the indigenous Celtic whose polyculture orchards, Longhouses, pueblos, women’s councils & string-shell inclusive economic values were destroyed by violent invasion of the Babylonian, Semite, Greek & Roman empires. Each abused indigenous people worldwide hold those who have become abusers in turn so our challenge includes welcoming everyone. In order for abusers to understand abuse, they need to rediscover their own heritage of peace & abundance. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/e-history/3-celtic-europe

    Indigenous 3-dimensional polyculture orchard productivity in harmony with nature is 100 times (10,000%) more productive than 2-D ‘agriculture’ (L ‘ager’ = ‘field’). In our time with the continuing destruction of the biosphere & spreading of scarcity, its important to recall humanity’s deep-knowledge & stewardship role as primate tree-cultivators. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/design/1-indigenous-welcome-orchard-food-production-efficiencies

    Indigene Community’s work is to recall humanity’s Great Law of Peace based in mutual-aid cultivation of multihome & inclusive economic participatory community. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/home/2-mutual-aid

    Our present Do-we-know-who-we-are-? work is in developing neighbourhood online web-based Human Resource Catalogue HRC, mapping & Community Investment & Exchange System CIES software for communities everywhere to know strength. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/structure/9-do-we-know-who-we-are

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  16. Ronald Bowman says:

    I have personally protested Bill C-39 and C-45. I started last summer at Kitchener’s multicultural festival trying to make people aware of the many items hidden in the omnibus budget. I did speak to a few First nations people at the event.They were surprised to learn of the changes to First Nations specific acts, as well as the severe environmental regulatory changes, which shift a lot of power to Ministers…

    Organizers attempted to eject me because I was carrying two signs and offered handouts to those interested, but police intervention stopped them, when they were made aware of my Charter right to peaceful protest.

    I am a non FN, retired person, and I support the movement. It is my hope that in addition to meeting First Nation’s needs and rights, the movement will also wake up an largely uniformed public, about the dangerous assault on democracy being committed by Harper and his extreme right wing Reform agenda.

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