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.