The natives are restless. Wondering why?

Poster by Dwayne Bird, a New Media Designer based in Winnipeg as part of his contribution to the Idle No More grassroots movement.

Picture this. You and I are sitting at my local laundromat slash fair trade café, and while you warily wait for me to get my first caffeine fix of the day, you lean in and prepare to ask the question that’s been on your mind since you first read the hyperbolic headline, “Native Leaders Try to Burst Into Chambers in Ottawa, Held Back By Guards.” Licking your lips nervously, you spit it out.  The question. Not this fantastic espresso.

So what’s got you all upset this time?

While I savor what has got to be the most widespread addiction in the world by now, I wonder how it is you and I ended up hanging out in the first place, but hey, it’s an honest question. If you strive to be a bit more tactful, I’ll strive not to move beyond visualising punching you in the throat, okay?

Although thousands of indigenous people all over Canada rallied together under the banner of Idle No More on December 10th, there has been very little media coverage on the movement.  Most of what is being said in the mainstream media is focused on Bill C-45. I’d like to make it clear…they’re getting it wrong.

Attawapsikat still lacks desperately needed housing units, a year after the crisis was declared. Rather than deal with the situation in good faith, the Canadian government has continued to blame Chief Theresa Spence who is now taking drastic measures to open an honest dialogue.

Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat did not launch a hunger strike over a single piece of legislation.  The women who are planning on supporting her in a nationwide fast, in relay, are not doing this because of a single piece of legislation. Canada, this is not just about Bill C-45.

Then what? What is the problem?

I’m going to go to the Idle No More page and click on “Manifesto”. I think it’s important you read this in its entirety rather than just have me excerpt it for you:

We contend that:
The Treaties are nation to nation agreements between Canada and First Nations who are sovereign nations. The Treaties are agreements that cannot be altered or broken by one side of the two Nations. The spirit and intent of the Treaty agreements meant that First Nations peoples would share the land, but retain their inherent rights to lands and resources. Instead, First Nations have experienced a history of colonization which has resulted in outstanding land claims, lack of resources and unequal funding for services such as education and housing.

The #IdleNoMore hashtag on twitter has been an amazing source of information on the nationwide rallies, and the further efforts of indigenous peoples to organise a sustainable grassroots movement.

We contend that:
Canada has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world by using the land and resources. Canadian mining, logging, oil and fishing companies are the most powerful in the world due to land and resources. Some of the poorest First Nations communities (such as Attawapiskat) have mines or other developments on their land but do not get a share of the profit. The taking of resources has left many lands and waters poisoned – the animals and plants are dying in many areas in Canada. We cannot live without the land and water. We have laws older than this colonial government about how to live with the land.

We contend that:
Currently, this government is trying to pass many laws so that reserve lands can also be bought and sold by big companies to get profit from resources. They are promising to share this time…Why would these promises be different from past promises? We will be left with nothing but poisoned water, land and air. This is an attempt to take away sovereignty and the inherent right to land and resources from First Nations peoples.

For news, pictures, and information on the Idle No More movement, you can check out the Aboriginal Multi-Media Society online by clicking on the poster.

We contend that:
There are many examples of other countries moving towards sustainability, and we must demand sustainable development as well. We believe in healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities and have a vision and plan of how to build them.
Please join us in creating this vision.

In short, this is what we have always been talking about. Whether the particular focus has been on housing, or education or the environment, or whatever else.  What lies at the heart of all these issues is our relationship with Canada.  And Canada? This relationship is abusive.

I don’t get it, I thought things were getting better?

You’re right, you don’t get it. Things are not getting better.  In fact, many of us feel that things are getting worse. Many of us feel that the reason things aren’t getting any better, is because Canada has forgotten it is a Treaty nation too.

When the relationship between indigenous peoples and Europeans first began here, we had a relationship based on Treaties of Peace and Friendship. As indigenous peoples understand this relationship, it is one that should work to the mutual benefit of all involved. That relationship quickly became overshadowed by one more focused on extinguishing (getting rid of) aboriginal rights, particularly as they relate to the land. I am not speaking about events hundreds of years ago. I am telling you that Canada continues to focus on stripping away all of our rights and land while at the same time telling the world that it is doing the opposite.

One of the most captivating photos taken during the December 10th rallies, by Blaire Russell.

In this document (PDF) Canada clearly lays out its interests in any negotiations it enters into with indigenous people. The term ‘certainty’ has replaced ‘termination’, but the intent is still the same.

I can go find dismal statistics on pretty much any aspect of life for indigenous peoples in this country; trot them all out and say, ‘look it’s really bad’ and you will nod and say, ‘wow it sure is’, but that still won’t make it clear for you.  I need you – WE need you, to see the forest and not just the trees.

I’m really sorry, I just…I don’t understand what the issues are?

Aaron Paquette does a wonderful job of highlighting why this is not just about indigenous peoples. It is about everyone living in Canada:

This is much greater than angry protesting natives, this is about becoming aware of the world in which you live.

First they gutted the sciences, long term studies that would help us understand our ecosystem better so we could develop more responsibly, and no one said a word.

Then they cut funding for our shared history and those who work to preserve it, while at the same time dumping tens of millions of dollars into celebrating a British colony war that happened before we were even a country, and still no one said anything.

Then the world was made aware of the shameful conditions for small children growing up on underfunded, polluted Reservations. A small murmur and then nothing.

And now, because of the apathy they see, this government has taken galling steps to sell out our wilderness, our resources and sovereignty. And not even to the highest bidder. It’s a yard sale with no regard for responsibility or care for anyone who might be negatively affected (in other words, all of us).

From millions of protected waterways a couple weeks ago, we now have hundreds. Yes, you read that right.

So why are Canada’s Indigenous Peoples the only ones who are standing up? Why are they now the World’s Protectors?

What are the issues? The issues are many. The issues are well documented.  The issues have been studied and researched and reported on ad nauseum until we have literally filled libraries with the issues and the recommendations and words words words…

What it all boils down to is this. Canada has not committed itself to addressing the colonial relationship it still has with indigenous peoples. Canada is in denial about that relationship.  I think it’s fair to say that most Canadians believe that kind of relationship no longer exists. We are trying to tell you that you are wrong.

So what now, more talks?

Contrary to popular perception, indigenous peoples are not just about blockades and protests. We have engaged in every dialogue Canada has been willing to enter into since before Canada was even a nation. When the requirements changed, often arbitrarily, we complied. When Canada pulled out of the structures it built, dumping years of work down the tubes only to decide to set up a different structure and begin again, we were there, at the table, ready to do it over.

We will not let Canada forget it is a Treaty nation. All Canadians are a Treaty people.

This has gone on for too long. The Canadian government continues to mouth platitudes about its supposed dedication to this relationship, while it slashes funding, ignores our emergencies, pulls out of comprehensive land claim discussions, ‘consults’ with us and then ignores everything we told them, all while pursuing a hard-line agenda which accepts only termination as a result.

We have been backed into a corner and we are literally fighting for our lives. We are literally dying, in so many preventable and unacceptable ways. I’m not being poetic or hyperbolic here and I don’t just mean culturally.

We are dying.

No one should expect us to stay quiet or polite about this. We have done what has been asked, we have played along to the constantly changing rules. It hasn’t worked. It hasn’t saved us. Idle No More is about saving ourselves.

We will continue to talk, and meet, and submit hundreds of thousands of reports each year…but we will also rise. We are rising. You will find that you have many issues in common with us, as Aaron pointed out. This is not us against you. This is hopefully all of us. Together.

Let’s move past chats in cafés, okay?


This article has also been published on HuffPo Canada and

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Categories: Decolonisation, Idle No More

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256 Responses to The natives are restless. Wondering why?

  1. Thanks for this. I never wonder why ‘Native are restless’, but why you’re not leading a major insurgency. More seriously, that would be suicidal until more members of the dominant society wake the fuck up. Speed the day.

    All our relations.

    • sikak iskwew says:

      indigenous people have almost always without exception promoted a peaceful process for finding resolution to the problems created by european invasion and imposition of themselves on our ancestral homelands. im pretty typical of a FN person and my tolerance for BS is really high because of the teachings i was raised with. it takes a lot to push me over the edge. indigenous cultural protocols and ethics around conflict resolution are as deeply embedded as european ethics and protocols are around conflict containment and control. white people in canada need to seek healing from their racist and oppressive culture before anything can be moved forward for anyone living in indigenous homelands. we’ve been waiting, pretty damn patiently, since the beginning for europeans to catch up and get on side with us regarding what it means to be a respectful collaborative human being who is a signatory to treaties that for FN were in essence about building kinship with the white newcomers. unfortunately for everyone, whites back then (and now, apparently) were only concerned with saying what needed to be said in order to get what they wanted: the land and to be rid of us. it was never the “indian problem” it is and always has been a problem with the way europeans have embedded deeply oppressive social norms into their cultural systems. what is happening today is only a tip of the iceberg; until white canada heals itself and finds its soul and conscience, things will only get worse and not just for FN since apparently its open season on all people’s rights (environmental protection affects us all) thanks to the continued erosion of decency in politics. hurry up canada, racism is old school, illogical, counterproductive and a departure from reality. we need to all be on board with protecting the earth that allows us to exist in the first place at all!!!!!

      • Bobby Scott says:

        Yes,yes,yes. Thank you for reaching out to us.I would be honored to walk with you in this fight.I too have watched Harper sell all our people out.

        • Friends – I’m all for being non-violent with those who are non-violent with us. The windigos who have power are not only violent – they are genocidal. I speak for self-defence.

      • evelisa says:

        sikak, thank you thank you thank you for your perspective and contribution to the conversation here.

      • wapistikwan says:

        Tansi Keya Sikak iskwew:
        an interesting choice of nom de plume, so please stand down wind ,just in case,
        My experience in Alberta can be summed up by ” I am a stranger in my own Land” so maybe the time has come.
        namoya soonias, namoya sooniow.

      • Nishka Silverfox says:

        Thank you for what you had said being older First Nation. person I have lived through white people torment I was raised in the Ontario foster care system. If you lighter skin you were passed as white. Everyone things have changed in the foster home system. Native families are still being judged by white standards. This bill C45 will only give these workers a chance to openly do the things they have been hiding.
        Nishka Silverfox

    • This will explain all: If you are not indignant;you must be inhuman??

  2. daveM says:

    Certainly the issues are common to many people in Canada. Our government is not representing the interests of Canadians in general. The issues are not unique to First Nations, there is discrimination against the advancement of many people.

  3. Sarah says:

    It might make you want to punch me in the throat even more, but, I’d like to think that if we were in your cafe, I’d be asking “What took so )@X^!!( long?” And, then, “Uh, anything in particular I could do to help?”

    I’ve been haphazardly following what has been happening in Canada (I’m in the US) and lots of events over the last several years have surprised me, to say the least. I’ve frequently thought of relocating to Montreal for all kinds of frivolous reasons, but have grown more cautious about even daydreaming due to lots of things, many of which you have been bringing up in your posts. Harper’s government’s platform during the election was (to me) harking back to the mid-1800’s. Assimilation seems almost too nice a word. [Total tangent: In ’06, when I was trying to follow your elections, Harper made me nervous when I realized he seemed so close to Stockwell Day, someone who I really would not want to share a meal with. These people seemed to be buddy-buddy with all the wrong (in my opinion) people on my side of the border.]

    Completely random question: How is this s**t going to affect Wiwemikong and other ‘unceeded’ territory?

    • The position of the Canadian government is that there is no such thing as unceded territory…just territory that hasn’t been ‘quieted’ yet. Harper is specifically attempting to ‘wrap it all up’ within the next few years, and the policy of ‘certainty’ is how he will attempt to make that happen.

      • Sarah says:


        Great. /sarcasm

        I would dearly hope that the Crown will take step up and ‘own’ those treaties and be a presence in this.

  4. Meagan says:

    I agree that there is a lot of issues that need addressing, but the natives are the only group who receives free education, so why don’t they go into politics and make some major changes? I do not mean one or two people, but the population? Perhaps I am not aware of everything that is going on, but why does there need to be funding for people? I myself am part native, I do not see funding, I do not need it. I’m going to school and paying my own bills. If everyone paid for themselves, educated themselves, would it not be equal? Would the fighting not end?

    • The ‘free education for natives’ myth is something I do intend to get to. Short version: it doesn’t work the way most people believe it does.
      This is not about who is paying for what. This is about a fundamental refusal on the part of Canada to live up to its obligations as a party to the Treaties.

    • @Meagan

      At what cost to the people who at last receive it, do you think all this “free” shit coming to them?

      I never thought I’d read such an ignorant statement under a blog post like this. Did you even read it before commenting, or did you just figure you’d find some Aboriginal person’s blog to post your 1%er complaint on?

      Typical wealthsplainin’. I’m so white I practically glow in the dark, and I have $50K in student loans because I was born into poverty, violence, cultural assimilation (yes, it happens to us whiteys too — it’s called immigration), blind terror of where we came from and all the erasure of our identities and heritage that came with it, and utterly horrific trans-generational abuse.

      Now people talk down to me like I’m “bumming” off the government. Well at what cost to me and my fractured Settler family first? I’m just the third generation here, and under this current societal structure, I have been homeless five times and have no way out of how far I’ve slipped without a fuckload of help.

      And that’s even with the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree and a sharp mind.

      Never mind that I got my first job when I was 12 and worked three of them simultaneously while entering my senior year of high school at 16. Never mind that I’ve been to college twice already (soaring with flying colours), and worked full-time in medical offices in between. I can’t even get a job mopping floors and can’t even sleep at night either.

      What makes you think Aboriginal people have it easier or that anything is “free” for them? What makes you think ANYONE has it easier or gets anything for “free”?

      • guest says:

        On the reserve here they get free houses, taxi service, education and health/medical care…just to name a few. And other things for living on reserve that others who live off reserve do not get

        • It’s always sad to see how little people understand about these ‘free’ things. Here is an article specifically on housing: Unfortunately I haven’t gotten to education and healthcare yet…but if you are still under the impression these things are free or even adequate, you are misinformed. Next time you post, do so under a name or please go elsewhere.

          • tz says:

            One of the problems I’ve noticed with “free education” is that they are forced to leave their culture, family and communities behind, almost always permanently, in order to take part in a “free education” and the job that theoretically follows it. It really seems like more colonialism to me… quite blatantly, in fact.
            And if you have grown up on a reserve where you may not have even been within commuting distance of a high school (as is the case in many northern communities) how much success can you expect the youth to have when they move to a big city in a foreign culture and are expected to study under white folk’s terms of education?

          • Assimilate says:

            Edit: take your anger, your ignorance, and your ‘anecdotes’ elsewhere. You certainly shouldn’t be appropriating the name of the territory you are lucky to be allowed to live in.

        • Again, I ask. At what cost before it’s finally declared “free”?

          And you know, an Aboriginal comedian might talk about “free taxi rides”, but he’s talking about Aboriginal men being picked up by police and beaten outside city limits. On the West Coast, they refer to them as “starlight tours”. And until that stops, nothing is “free”.

      • Chris says:


        What I get from Meagan’s post is that she’s aware of her ignorance and trying to fix it.

        Not everybody on the internet is a troll. Lots of us are good hearted people who have a hard time sorting through the misinformation put out by a media machine we don’t trust. When we post ignorant things on posts like this, we’re seeking help.

        Please help us.

        • I ask painful questions and reveal how painful this kind of ignorance is, even to someone like me who is non-native, to give the kind of help being sought. I’m not going to sugar-coat it in the hopes of finding the right flavour of sweet to describe the terms of genocide that fellow Settlers find palatable.

          • Chris says:

            You don’t need to sugar coat anything you don’t want to but it would be helpful to get an answer to the question.

          • Chris, what question are you referring to? The claim of free education is not a question. It is a myth, and no one needs to rush into explaining it in detail just because someone wants to rely on that myth to make accusations. Megan’s questions are accusations, not questions, based on a lot of ignorance. Insisting that HaifischGeweint immediately respond to them, or ‘answer the question’ is disingenuous. That would involve a heck of a lot of effort, and I can attest to how much time it takes to put together a response to these kinds of misconceptions.

          • Uhhhh… what question?

          • Chris says:

            Apologies. I was typing hastily.

            Feel free to disregard.

            I WAS referring to the myth of free education in her post. Not a specific question.

          • Why don’t you research it?

        • Michelle W says:

          Please understand that it is not the responsibility of people living daily with the effects of colonialism, racism, attempted genocide, and so on, to educate you about your own people’s history. If you really want to learn, the information is out there, but it is part of transforming the power dynamics for each of us to educate *ourselves* about our own privileges.

      • Joel says:

        Fuckin eh!

      • Patrick says:

        Edit: someone who wants to compare the lack of highschools on reserve to the inconvenience of having to drive to the mountains to snowboard, is not actually trying to dialogue.

        Let me be clear. If you come to this blog and decide to just shout and flail, you will not be given that opportunity.

    • sikak iskwew says:

      the myth of free handouts for FN has to be one of the most persistent, damaging, misinformed and effective tools for creating division between my community and the white and non-native community.

      nothing is “free” for FN. everything we receive from the federal government was addressed in the treaties…ie, europeans would have access to our homelands in exchange for certain things in perpetuity. among those things are lands to be reserved for our sole and exclusive use, retention of our right to hunt and trap, fiduciary benefits to be paid out annually are some of these. also included is access to education and health benefits (the medicine chest clause).

      in essence, all the things we receive as per the treaties were paid for in land; specifically, the use of the land by foreigners, europeans, british specifically. since the terms of the treaties included the language “in perpetuity” it basically amounts to an annual fee paid out to FN treaty signatories for european/canadian use of our traditional homelands for as long as both parties exist in this area. in simplistic terms, its like the british signed a kind of lease with indigenous peoples to use our homelands and agreed to pay us for every year of usage of that land. a contract of habitation, if you will. it happens every day when a new tenant signs a lease with a landlord and no one complains when it comes time to pay the rent or makes the claim that the landlord is getting something for nothing.

      what was given up on our part, far exceeded what was actually agreed to. we never agreed to the indian act, never agreed to the loss of sovereignty, never agreed to have our children taken and put into the torture factories called residential schools, never agreed to any cessations that would amount to the destruction of our distinct cultural, political and social identities. all of that was forced upon us before the ink was even dry on the treaties that were signed by FN leaders who believed that the sacredness of them was untouchable. the british never had that attitude and every problem today can be traced back to that colonial attitude.

      if anyone is trying to get something for free it is the colonial government who every year schemes up new ways to attempt to destroy treaty rights in order to get out of its contractual obligation as represented by the treaties.

      • On top of what you’ve said here, the ‘free stuff’ people so often complain about is rarely anything close to what they imagine it is, nor is it available to many. It is indeed a completely misunderstood issue, and one that comes up again and again in people’s ranting against First Nations.

        • sikak iskwew says:

          agreed…when i moved stateside, my treaty rights stayed in canada. meaning i had no “free” health care and no “free” education–i have 25k in american student loans and that my band will not pay for. while in the us the only time i had health coverage was while i was in school and working. thankfully i had an excellent hmo through the non-profit i worked for and never had any serious illnesses. although i was the victim in a hit and run accident and because i was currently unemployed had no health coverage and so was left with the hospital bills. that being said, youre right: in canada not every one actually benefits from the treaties in the way the common perception would have us all believe. like the “indians dont pay taxes” myth…a benefit that only becomes active if you work on a reserve, but how many jobs actually exist on reserve for people to access that benefit? on my rez the unemployment rate is in the high 80% because of a non-viable infrastructure to support lower unemployment. ..and the number of us accessing post-secondary funding is still a minority of the total population.

        • Settlers: the first welfare recipients.

        • Thank you âpihtawikosisân for your well informed responses to the many Canadians across native lands that are unaware of the Treaty obligations. As a person who’s great great grandfather signed Treaty #6, a peace treaty based on the spirit and intent to live respectfully, I for one have tried to uphold this treaty by family signed. I for one honor my ancestors for all their sacrifices, even the many who were hunted and murdered after the signing of treaty…these are not in history books. The many woman & children sterilized, raped, murdered so this gov’t could make room for the ones who are so quick to judge us. I myself, feel much needed prayers are in order for those who choose to live a lie and feel powerful at the expense of million of my ancestors blood…my grandfather, a strong proud Cree man, survivor of Indian Residential School was a WWII veteran, volunteered to fight for “even” those who chose to supress and attack him, his wife, children, and family and when he returned, he wasn’t welcomed, celebrated, or appreciated by other Canadians….no, he was, shortly after his return from Europe, beaten by a mob of men & jailed because of the “colour” of his skin…now please, if anyone can find “free”, unappreciative, lazy, drunkered Indians etc…in this story, all I can say is “shame on you”…I hope you make your ancestors, better yet, your mother proud. Because at this moment, my ancestors & my mother are proud because I not once disrespected you and I tried to see who you were and respected you as a iyiniwak (human being)… Shannon Houle #idleNOMore is alive & strong & I welcome an open invitation to join a common cause…peace & solidarity for all, including the respect of all our mother ~ Mother Earth, with out her, we die!

      • Bobby Scott says:

        Very well said,with a true perspective of the reality.We, I think,need to trust our FN people.We somehow blindfully accept our government and what the mainstream media says but we don’t trust them,why?

      • Mark Loft says:

        This is the clearest and most succinct breakdown of our relationship I think I have ever read. With your permission, sikak iskwew, I would like to use it as a summary or “source material” (which I will back up with actual sources when challenged). Well said.

      • tus says:

        Very well put. Especially to “torture factories”. This is what almost killed our spirit, but we are still here. I can’t help but cry when I think of all those little children, little babies that were raped, tortured and murdered. How can a person do that to little children? Our ancestors have suffered this gross injustice among many, and we are still suffering. Bottom line is we do not deserve this treatment anymore than any living human being deserves it.

      • TheresaB says:

        Edit: There was no war. You didn’t win. Get over it. PS, you don’t get a platform to be a racist jerk, thanks.

    • yes, and all the people on welfare get all sorts of free stuff as well, typical right wing talking agenda. (Edit: let’s keep it classy folks) I think the writer of this article, has done a very good job expressing the views and speaks the truth about what the native people and the rest of Canadians are up against. In solidarity!

    • Chris says:

      I’m not FN but hopefully my response will be adequate.

      1. Why doesn’t the population go into politics and make ‘major changes’? It is very rare you’ll find any racialized minorities entering politics. Generally, racialized groups do not vote unless they are strongly unified and can participate in block voting en masse. (e.g. East Indian & South Asian Populations) This is much different when you have a generationally broken community. Additionally, there continues to be a lack of racialized politicians at the Federal level
      2. Why does there need to be funding for the people? There doesn’t need to be – the outcomes aren’t much different. You can throw all the money in the world at a social problem, but unless we’re able to address the underlying issues (the fact the colonialism has real effects and has created generational trauma for many of these groups) then we will never be able to better the conditions.
      3. Congratulations on getting your own education – While you are part native that does not necessarily mean your experience will be the same as everyone else’s. You’re paying your own bills, others have a family that rely on them (socially or financially)

      When a whole community is dealing with issues (by virtue of their ethnic background/ color/ sexual orientation) simply assimilating them and saying ‘act like everyone else’ will work for the small few but not for most.

    • History might point to the outcome of that suggestion. It was once suggested that “The Government believes that its policies must lead to the full, free and nondiscriminatory participation of the Indian people in Canadian society. Such a goal requires a break with the past. It requires that the Indian people’s role of dependence be replaced by a role of equal status, opportunity and responsibility, a role they can share with all other Canadians….” [The White Paper 1969] … and we all know what happened after that.

      It isn’t just that Trudeau’s vision was ill-timed, it’s that it was completely ignorant of the vast complexity of what it means to live in a plural society; with a diverse set of Peoples, who beholden to a diverse set of values, and governed under a diverse set of laws.

      What is constantly missing from the debate is the lack of entrenched individual-centric values underpinning the different Indigenous legal orders. Although there are many different traditional and customary systems of Indigenous laws in these lands, I have yet to come across any that enshrine the individual as much as our Western philosophies do, and notably our own system of law.

      The idea of the the insulated automaton with the inherent right to be completely free from any interference, private or public (State), is a nice idea in theory, but it’s one that is neither practiced nor is it practicable. When you denounce Liberty for being evil, people assume that communism and socialism are our only alternatives. But this also misses the purpose of the discussion.

      The solutions to the world’s problems do not have their source in Western ideas alone. And just because they have formed the basis for what has been one of the greatest legacies of human rights violations in the history of this land, does not make them useless either.

      What is needed is for “Canadians” (by that I mean aboriginal and non-aboriginal alike who align themselves with an idea of Canadian values as generally expressed) to recognize and acknowledge the strength and complexity and virtuosity of Indigenous laws and knowledge in relation to these lands.

      In other words, we need to listen; we need to learn; we need to share; we need to make “equal” space, not for Aboriginal individuals in the Canadian Society, but for Indigenous perspectives and influences in a society shaped by all values.

      ps. Not meaning to pick on this particular comment — I’m a second year law student in BC. I was just poking my head out of the law school exam cave and trying to learn more about the #Idlenomore campaign. That’s what lead me to this page. I look forward to finding out more and getting more engaged in local actions. Solidarity to all. Kukstemc. Great page! Good posts.

    • clint saulteaux says:

      I won’t reply to the “free education” comment. What I will say is that as a First Nation man, I’ve always had to be politically aware. I had no choice. It was assimilate or retain my identity as a First Nation person and defend it; defend my existence; defend the racism and bigotry. And go into politics? Canadians can’t even vote NDP which would be the closest of the three major parties to recognize our treaties. Yeah, my political career would last.

    • Michelle W says:

      This is a 50 minute video that should answer that question for you.

    • Bob Sutherland says:

      I did not get a Free education, I was forced by the Government to attend a residential school to leave my family at a very young age, my parents were forced to let me go or go to jail. As most First Nation did when government forced the assimilation system by the Indian Act . I pay my bills to even taxes. We should learn from the Germans the states pays for everyone education rich or poor. But we just got our Human rights in this past year, we never had our humans right since Canada became Canada.

  5. Greg Dreaver says:

    Sooner or later and am believing more sooner Canadians will realize as will Indigenous people that whatever is done to the land, the plants and other species, animals, birds, fish etc, happens to everyone, Canada unilaterally passes and continues to pass Bills without any informed consent or consultation with the First Peoples, Canada cuts deals with China unilaterally without any informed consent or consultation with its citizens! The Government of Canada under Harper is being sold out to foreign interest and we as people with gratitude to our woman’s voices are forever ‘IDLE NO MORE!’ <3

  6. We’re being lulled to sleep clutching our techie-toys, nodding to patriotic marching orders, shedding our indigenous blood way too far from home, we’ve lost all caution and suspicion, our instincts, our most common sense, to notice that the colonizers SIRENs are leading us straight to the rocks…

  7. LunarCritter says:

    I feel like the same thing is happening here in the US to some extent. Is there anything individuals like me can do to support the “Idle No More” movement beyond spreading the message?

  8. Thank you Chelsea for creating a space for us to learn togethr. Your words are very much appreciated. As a White colonial learner, I appreciate your words as tools to help decolonize my mind as well as actions.

  9. Jules says:

    With respect, DaveM, these issues ARE unique to First Peoples, because my settler people signed treaties with them- and have done nothing since but ignore those agreements, to our everlasting shame. Yes, there is discrimination against many peoples, but here in “Canada” no other people have faced so many long-term, systemic attempts to steal their lands and kill their cultures. It’s time we faced up to that. Every Canadian needs to read this article, and every one of us needs to face the truth.

  10. This is a really good article, it spells it out really well. Part of the problem is that right wing media are giving working class people the impression that somehow they would somehow be losing something somehow, through some abstract pseudo-moral reasoning, if profits from resources on reserves went to First Nations in Canada instead of foreign owned corporations, and somehow they’ve made it seem like demands for decent housing standards, etc., for First Nations are somehow unfair instead of recognizing that the fundamental unfairness is the current lack of these things in many communities, for poor whites and immigrants as well as First Nations.

    • sikak iskwew says:

      wel, in reality, almost all monies disbursed to FN communities as per treaty agreements in the past 90 years have gone directly back into the white communities because of the lack of infrastructure in FN communities. which means that we have had to buy our food, clothes, household products, supplies etc from white owned businesses. racism is a sickness of the mind and the spirit…whats really the issue here is the persistent racism that allows people to be manipulated into creating an us versus them mentality and denying FN the right to have economically viable communities because of the greed of white racist people in power who cannot stand the idea of FN people having any kind of power let alone economic power. when you undermine FN economies, you affect the canadian economy overall. we are a growing demographic and will continue to expand. racism is an archaic antiquated unsustainable social ethic that needs to be done away with. i guarantee you, get rid of the racism in canada, and you will see progress not only with FN but in other social sectors. and applying a traditional indigenous ethic to economic ventures can only be positive for all of us, ie redistribution of the wealth not the hoarding of it.

  11. feralkenneth says:

    You are one of the most articulate writers on Indigenous issues I’ve ever read. Keep up the great work. It’s making a positive difference out there.

  12. Sharing this and as much information as I can, as widely as possible. Every day. OCM.

  13. Morningstar Mercredi says:

    There is an awakening occurring across this land, a restlessness stirring, the people are responding. December 10, 2012, will be the beginning of yet another historical day in Canada.

    On December 10, 2012, thousands of people rallied throughout Canada, a revolution-uprising, what motivated the people to rise?


    I am a direct descendant of Chief Laviolette whom signed Treaty 8. We are all direct descendants of TREATIES.

    Prime Minister Harper has dismissed Treaties. We are not going to allow this to happen. WE cannot. WE will not.

    The media blackout is a muzzle to deny our response by not allowing Canadians to witness our unity and strength via news/media.

    WHen the people revolted throughout Canada on December 10, 2012, it was a testament and evidence that OUR Treaties are LIVING documents.

    Our shared history was not permitted in the education system, consequently keeping Canadians and indeed, ourselves from being informed of our history, and the truth denied regarding the relationship between Canada, First Nations and Metis. Regardless, as the Treaties are living documents, and we are still here, direct descendants of TREATIES, the efforts to deny and dismiss Treaties and our history is futile because we will not allow this to happen.

    Treaties and OUR relationship is between ALL OF US.

    For the most part Canadians assume they are not descendants of the Treaties, when in fact, they are. Treaties were created for ALL OF US, therefore this is not only a First Nation/Metis issue or concern, it is everyones responsibility.

    And indeed EVERYONES right to revolt!


    Because Prime Minister Harper will continue to regulate, dictate and deny not only our Treaties, he will continue to deny our HUMAN RIGHTS. This is no longer an assumption, a concern, not even a threat. HE HAS denied ALL of our HUMAN RIGHTS by virtue of NOT consulting with Canadians, First Nations and Metis people.

    It is no longer whether he would, he did.

    What we need to ask ourselves is this, what is next?

    You see, everyone has a responsibility and a right to determine OUR RELATIONSHIP, how we share and protect this LAND, and protect our human rights.

    The next step for Harper is to regulate WATER, RESOURCES, and then dictate to EVERYONE how water and resources will be used and who will control access. These are merely steps to a dictatorship that will imprison anyone who stands up against Corporation, in essence, if we allow this, it will be a matter of time before water is rationed, people are imprisoned, land is completely destroyed, and our human rights are no longer.

    Impossible? Unbelievable?

    Think it cannot happen? And what do the TREATIES have to do with WATER, HUMAN RIGHTS and RESOURCES.


    ALL OF US. You. Me. Your neighbor, my neighbor. Regardless of ethnicity, TREATIES affect everyone and are there to PROTECT all of us.

    No one can sit back and do nothing.

    Prime Minister Harper has placed a media BLACKOUT on this NATIONAL NEWS. What are you going to do about it?

    YES YOU!

    IDLE NO MORE !!! applies to all of us.


    Morningstar Mercredi

    • Racquel says:

      This post is AMAZING.

    • tus says:

      Well said Morningstar! Is Harper even aware that there is a water shortage all over the planet?? He is planning to pollute drinkable water for the sake of the “economy”. What good is money when there is absolutely no drinking water to buy? No one can live without water! And this will not just affect FN, it will affect ALL nations.

    • lois says:

      I am a third generation settler and though uneducated about the treaties I am conscious of the attitudes and behaviors, historically and currently, of government sponsored and /or supported agencies toward the people of the lands that we have occupied, I see the effects of cultural genocide all around me in the city and have had glimpses of it on reserves. And I have witnessed and spoken out about the destruction of the land and waterways that the treaties apparently promised to take care of. We are all citizens of the earth. We all depend on the land and the water for our very lives. Though my ancestors have supported the governments and the culture of greed for power and wealth, and I in turn have benefited from their actions, I am today filled with gratitude to those who have risen out of the ruins of a culture to challenge the authority of those who would sacrifice the earth and her people to their false gods of money and war. Hope rises with you and I am proud and honored to walk with you for the earth upon which we share a common future of our own making

    • Erin says:

      May I share this post, Morningstar? I have already shared Apihtawikosisan’s article, but I know that only a few will read it, let alone all the comments! This movement is important, and I would like to do my part by sharing what I am learning!

  14. promethics says:

    I can’t speak to Canadian law, but the U.S. is guilty of the same thing in spades, and over here those treaties are legally equivalent to a part of the Constitution. Funny how right-wingers who blither endlessly about the purity and glory of the Constitution like to ignore that bit when it comes to indigenous peoples.

  15. however, in the end the article does not really provide anything but, a kinda acceptance that death and poverty are likely the outcome, unless they pull a full out civil war. which is unlikely. more likely is more of the same old. regardless, those of us that are aware have no power, and those that don’t care live in the all powerful suburbs and would be happy to see every native deported (to where im not sure, prison colonies up north i suspect) these people do not want to even honour the current legal framework they think narratives already get too much… soooo not exactly a winnable argument. the native argument that dialogue is possible is a just delusion, should take lessons from russians. these people would throw their own children on the street if they are mentally unwell can can’t keep a job.. forget, caring about some people of a different colour, who say they “were here”. they say, iz mine now! and why is our government even letting them have reserves or rights, or anything special, i don’t want them too. luckily our government still knows it has to honour legal documents and treats as much as they try to avoid them, they still have to follow them to some extent. the avg, suburban joe would wish it simple like. the argument that people “just don’t know the truth”. or the “media” is lying (which it is) but even if they said the “truth”. these people would just turn the tv off. or demand a change in management at the tv station.

    • Sounds like you’ve already given up. Idle No More is about so much more than just protest and education. It is also about living our indigenous traditions, supporting one another, getting off our asses and “being the change we want to see in the world”. It’s language nests, applying our own laws and taking control of our own jurisdictions, protecting our women and children and elders, cramming for end of semester exams, raising healthy children…it’s all of it, and more. Idle No More is our declaration that we will survive, and rise.

      • sikak iskwew says:

        and therein lies the essence of revolution: to resist, to defy, to take a stand in every way possible and to say no is the greatest power of healing and denial of oppression. in my mind it isnt even totally about “winning” its about living your ethics and for FN ppl our ethics are an essential part of what makes us who we are–our lands may be colonized, but our hearts, spirits and minds will not be. in that respect, we are unconquerable.

        • Morningstar Mercredi says:

          Not so brief reply…

          Riel Resistance, Little Big Horn, Oka, Ipperwash, Wounded Knee…to cite acts of protection/preservation that are common knowledge in history.

          Turtle Island was once populated by millions of Indigenous people who prospered, these distinct linguistic groups had their own judicial systems, clothing, ceremony, and many societies are/were matriarchy.

          The millions of Indigenous people whom once populated Turtle Island did not roll over like victims surrendering. There was a Holocaust and Wars. The point is, our women and children were defended, then institutionalized, in the thousands. Residential Schools. Historically we have defended not only our people, we defended this land because of our understanding of IMPACT on water, natural resources, and environment. IMPACT on animals and all living creation, because we SHARE LIFE with all creation. AND our men and women defended this Country in World Wars, and in turn, many came home to be incarcerated on Reserves.

          To take a stand and be IDLE NO MORE is inherently and historical the way of the people.

          It’s my blood to defend, protect and be proactive.

          TREATIES are a direct result of our resistance and ability/desire to achieve peace and understanding between two sovereign peoples, so to coexist, we made a commitment to our Creator with the pipe.

          We agreed to PROTECT human beings, water, land, and share resources (albeit Canada ensured limited sharing of revenue when it came to distribution of natural resources)

          Again, the point is;

          We never surrendered and we certainly DID NOT agree to surrendering our TREATIES, this act was imposed. Therefore we are,

          IDLE NO MORE!!!

          Once again, we are going to defend human beings, water, land, and natural resources, only now, the stakes are higher than ever.

          Will we unify and learn from history?


          We will continue to defend our children, water, the land, and respect life.

          This is not a debate. I am cited historical acts of resistance and how we ensured these rights would be adhered to through Treaties.

          The seers, visionaries, the old ones of long ago saw this time so they prayed, fought, sang, fasted, defended, held vigil ceremony for their children’s children, for the earth, they saw how the most valuable resource on this planet, a resource that sustains ALL life, ALL human beings, would be put up for sale. Water.

          This is what its all about in the long run, the bigger picture. Water, In essence. LIFE.

          Extreme? I think not. There is a plan, a long term agenda which Harper and Corporations can only execute by exterminating what binds us, that which protects ALL of us, Treaties.

          First Nations and adjoining brothers and sisters are the last defense through our Treaties to PROTECT our rights, water, and our environment.

          Think ahead. Consider the implications of life without water.

          I buy bottled water now.

          Water is what the Corporate world is after.

          How long before the distribution of water is regulated? Enjoy that hot shower and water, while you can afford to.

          WE are now at a cross roads and Treaties are what binds all of us, Treaties were created to ensure preservation and protection of everyone, all life, and what sustains life. Water.

          SO yes!

          Continue to be IDLE NO MORE, it is the way of human beings to make change, to resist, to unify, to protect ourselves, all human beings…

          I thank the Grandfathers and Grandmothers for their foresights and visions, they knew, we would arrive here and they prayed we would continue to protect life on EARTH.

          This is not a dismal prediction of doom and gloom, its a wake up call to unify. An opportunity to act on behalf of humanity, therefore, calling on all human beings, its time to take a stand, to be strategic, to plan, to defend, to protect and preserve life. Water.

          IDLE NO MORE is an ongoing revolution since contact and now we are all here, under the same sun…

          Keep it simple, “for as long as the rivers flow…”


          IDLE NO MORE

          …was a vision held by our ancestors and their prayers were, so we would unify, our ancestors whom created Treaties for us to share and protect and preserve our relations and resources. And now these Treaties are being dismantled.

          The Treaties are living documents (pun intended)

          We are living evidence to Treaties by virtue of breathing therefore, to protect and preserve our rights is the intent, and we will unify and do whatever we have to in order to protect and preserve human beings, water, environment, life.

          One act at a time, Imagine this revolution once we unify.

          That hot shower and glass of clean water may seem small but for how long is up to us.

          UNIFY and continue to be IDLE NO MORE…

          ALL MY RELATIONS (is a term of reference meant to be inclusive of all human beings)

          • Morningstar Mercredi says:

            Five things you should know about
            Canada’s position on the right to water

            Around the world, there is a growing movement working
            to make water a human right – both in law and in practice
            – affirming that water is an essential and irreplaceable
            resource for people’s health and for our planet as a whole.
            On July 28, 2010, the United Nations General Assembly
            voted overwhelmingly in favour of the human right to water
            and sanitation – a right that is essential for life itself. It
            is a right that is so basic that violation can result in death
            within mere days. Despite the well-documented and ongoing
            tragedy associated with lack of water and sanitation
            around the world, it took the United Nations General Assembly
            six decades to address its omission from the original
            Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
            By a vote of 122 to 0 (with 41 abstentions including
            Canada’s), the General Assembly approved resolution
            A/RES/64/292, The Human Right to Water and Sanitation.
            Several powerful countries stated their opposition to the
            resolution including Canada, the United States and more
            than two-thirds of the European Union. Countries that voted
            in favour were primarily in the Global South, with the
            support of a handful of Northern states.
            Here are five things you should know about Canada’s
            position on the right to water:
            1. Canada has voted against the right to water at the
            At the UN Commission on Human Rights in 2002, Canada
            was the only country to vote against the Right to Drinking
            Water and Sanitation. While the Canadian government has
            declared that water is an important issue, and that countries
            are responsible for ensuring that their own populations
            have access to water, the government has clearly
            stated it does not believe international law should recognize
            the existence of a right to water.
            As noted above, in the most recent vote, Canada abstained
            from recognizing the Right to Water and Sanitation despite
            the fact that millions of people die every year from lack of
            access to clean, safe water.
            2. Canada does not support General Comment 15.
            Since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, the UN has stressed
            the need to secure global access to safe water. In November
            2002, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural
            Rights developed General Comment 15, which confirms
            that the right to water is implicitly contained in the
            International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
            Canada has falsely stated that General Comment 15 would
            force it to provide other countries with access to Canadian
            water, and with this false justification has refused to support
            the initiative.
            3. Guaranteeing the right to water does not mean that
            the U.S. can take Canadian water.
            The federal government defends its position against recognizing
            the right to water by saying it does not want to
            lose control over Canadian water. The Canadian government
            is concerned that the United States could demand
            For more information about the Right to Water campaign, call us at 1-800-387-7177,
            or visit our websites at or
            Canadian water by claiming it under international obligations.
            This scenario would not transpire because a claim on
            human rights grounds must meet very strict criteria.
            The U.S. is the largest user of freshwater in the world, and
            Canada is ranked second. It is impossible to argue the U.S.
            will need Canadian water on a humanitarian basis when it
            leads the world in water consumption per capita. The reality
            is that the U.S. is thirsty because of unsustainable urban
            sprawl and mismanagement, not because it lacks
            sufficient water resources.
            4. Commodification is the real threat to Canadian
            The notion that water should be bought and sold like any
            other product is what threatens Canada’s control over its
            water – not the recognition of water as a human right.
            Trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade
            Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Trade
            in Services (GATS) ensure that once water is treated as a
            commodity, Canada will have little power to stop or even
            to slow down the export of the resource.
            NAFTA is designed to protect trade above all else, and water
            could be traded and exported even if the
            consequences to Canada were negative.
            5. Canada’s record on Indigenous water rights is
            While the majority of communities in Canada benefit from
            excellent public municipal water services, the federal government
            has failed in its obligation to provide safe drinking
            water and sanitation in Indigenous communities. More
            than 100 First Nations reserves are under boil water advisories
            and many communities have lived without
            adequate water infrastructure for generations.
            Furthermore, industrial water contamination has
            disproportionately impacted Indigenous communities
            leading to high cancer rates in communities like Fort
            Chipewyan, Alberta, which is directly downstream from
            the environmentally destructive tar sands production.
            A right to water would ensure that the Canadian government
            provides safe clean drinking water and sanitation to
            all peoples in Canada without discrimination.
            Join the Council of Canadians
            The strength of the Council is in its membership. The Council
            does not accept funding from corporations or from governments,
            so membership donations are vital to our activities.
            We work with community groups, seniors, students, unions
            and other organizations across the country to promote progressive
            policies on public health care, fair trade, secure energy,
            clean water and other issues of social and economic
            concern to Canadians. Visit or call us at
            1-800-387-7177 to become a member today.
            For more information about the Right to Water campaign, call us at 1-800-387-7177,
            or visit our websites at or

    • Lisa says:

      I think it’s inaccurate to say that the only people who care are those without power but I do agree that there are too many that don’t care. In my experience, that lack of concern is due to lack of education about the issues. When people are taught the reasons why we fight, they get it. Knowledge is power. I believe that more people would support the fight for our rights if they understood why we have those rights in the first place. Unfortunately, we don’t learn that in any history class I’ve ever been in.

  16. Thanks, for this. Once again you’ve cleared up so much for us. I’ll be sharing this. And thanks Tantoo Cardinal for standing in front of Queen’s Park and speaking out and sharing this article with us. Along with this fire there is a goodly number of people who are willing to DO something. If we all exchange ideas and strategies, we can organise and inform more people about these important NATIONAL issues. Fanning the Flames. I was in a meeting with a host of wonderfully passionate people, Native and Non Native, who were sharing a common desire to make things better for FN communities, on and off rez. Urban and remote. Hon LG David Onley coincidentally hosted a Gathering in Queen’s Park to bring together and strategise the “Silos” of organisations dedicated to fighting the challenges our People face every day, especially the youth. Grand Chief Beardy, Grand Chief Atleo, Elders, teachers and artists all talked about the sanctity of our Land, Water, Air and Ancestors and the future. The 8th Fire, positive changes and the battles to be faced in our political atmosphere. The Flame was alive in that room. Little did we know that Chief Spence was at that time on the steps of Parliament making her announcement. I’ve met Theresa, in Attawapiskat. She’s a strong woman. She’s a Mom. What she’s taken on is huge. Yesterday, in that room festooned with paintings of 1812 heroes and royalty, we were acutely aware that our people were outside on Queen’s Park steps, making their demands known.

    An amazing time in our history, folks. For all of us. Let’s not blow this opportunity to make our decisions TOGETHER.

    From a proud citizen of Mi’kmaqi and Canada, Cathy

    • Correction- Theresa Spence’s proclamation happened this morning. It didn’t happen as we were in our Gathering. I just found out about it and thought it was a simultaneous event. My apologies for the timing mistake. But I still stand with her. Wela’lin Cathy

  17. Pingback: Indigenous Genocide Across Turtle Island | HaifischGeweint

  18. Bob says:

    It is all about Treaty …..we have Treaty with First Nations, now that Canada is wealthy it does not need the Native any more, we, the Natives, have shared since the Europeans stepped on our shores, now, they want to get out of the Treaty.

  19. Jon says:

    On a tangent, I see that Attawapiskat is still lacking housing units. What happened to these freebies?

    • Minister Duncan pointed the finger once again at Chief Spence, saying that she is the reason these housing units were axed. This despite the fact that the decision to axe the funding was made a day after the federal court ruling that found no mismanagement in Attawapsikat AND finding that imposing a Third Party Manager was unreasonable.

  20. Dave says:

    Edit: you are correct that I characterise your ranting as bigoted, racist, and ignorant. You don’t get a platform here. Your IP address is banned. The ignorant have enough of a platform on the comment sections of every major online newspaper, most of whom take no responsibility for the vile filth people like you spew.

  21. Nina says:

    Thank you for this clear explanation/introduction. I found out about ‘Idle No More’ through the anti-tar sands campaign. From that angle, at least, this isn’t even just about all Canadians – it’s about all people, everywhere.

  22. Daniel Nikpayuk says:

    What many of the comments here are saying—notably sikak iskwew’s who has made some very elegant summaries of some of the issues—is Idle No More is not even an “us versus them” issue. It’s not an Aboriginal issue alone. Canada wants change too, both with the relationships they have with the First Nations, but also with themselves and the world. Take the all but forgotten “Occupy Movement” (which I’ve read was started in Canada): people see intolerable corruption, even in the Canadian infrastructure, they want change. Regarding that end, I’ve also read commentaries on the failures of Occupy is the lack of clear end goals for that change. I don’t think Idle No More has that problem.

    If Idle No More is to succeed, let’s learn from Occupy and other movements; let’s put a spin on it though, let’s use the generations of the wisdom of our elders so we don’t forget who we are. Let’s show the world it can revolve for the better without corruption or violence. Let’s move mountains, and find our way as peoples again.

  23. Pingback: The Revolution Will Not be Televised (But it Will be Tweeted) | Aaron Paquette Network

  24. emese says:

    I appreciate your ability to clearly depict and summarize issues that have been unclear to me… I also appreciated your responses to others who have asked you what they can do as non-Indigenous supporters. I read that you encourage educating ourselves, and I am working on this. I struggle with issues of cultural reappropriation, however, when I attend sweat lodges and attempt to pursue aboriginal spiritual practices and healing teachings.

    What can I say, or am I wrong in feeling that skin colour should not matter when we seek healing and growth?

  25. karen says:

    Thank you for this post and the ensuing comments, which serve to unlearn people the lies and myths that have been dominant for so long. I am an ally, but have been frustrated with not being able to clearly debunk the nonsense about the mythical free ride. This will go far in helping me in that matter.

    I was unsurprised and yet disappointed by the complete blackout of the movement, clear across this country. This is a movement that will take so many by surprise, but hopefully be the movement they are hungry to support as well. I think I shall take it upon myself to start writing directly to media organizations outside of Canada. (You know, instead of suggesting you do it … as would have been my way a few years back.) I would imagine that Al Jazeera would be interested, if they aren’t already covering the story?

    Again, thank you for the post and comments furthering my understanding of the issues.

    • Nina says:

      There’s also a news organisation called Press TV, which was recently banned from broadcasting in the UK but still operates online. If they’re not already reporting on Idle No More, it’s the kind of thing they love (anything critical of Western govts, as far as I can make out!).

      • Acelin says:

        Press TV would be Iran’s state-owned media organization. While obviously as many sources as possible should be considered in finding truth, just keep in mind they’re no saints either on the media scene.

    • Wendy says:

      There is also “The Real News”
      NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING and covers Canada, USA and International issues, including the still going Occupy Movement that began with Occupy Wallstreet, New York.

      I am learning a lot from this article and all the educating comments and will share this along with all the other “Idle No More” material recently.

      • Wendy says:

        At The Real News, you can “Pitch a Story”. I see someone pitched for a story on one of our other Bills, but didn’t see one for C-45. I did send them a comment on their Contact Us page, but I would not be capable of information for the creation of the story so they could cover it.

        I send them the link to this article and mentioned the media blackout, that when they read all the comments herein they may be encouraged to cover this movement like how they do (on-going) the Occupy movement(s).

  26. 1/32 native says:

    I wish I could find a concrete document and not opinion editorials on this bill. Whether you consider these services “free” or not,it is coming from someone, somewhere and is unsustainable. I *think* that may be the source of this bills proposal.

  27. Jim Poushinsky says:

    My heart and spirit goes out to all who are engaging or who are going to join in non-violent actions for positive change on our Mother Earth. Migwetch to all peaceful warriors! Your actions are for the Highest Purpose, so I believe you will be assisted by many, both in physical and spirit dimensions. You are not alone! We are all One. You will make a difference, and someday all Canada will be grateful for your courage and leadership in defending both human rights and the natural world.

  28. The disrespect on the part of my government (the US) and the Canadian government for agreements they signed with sovereign nations is nothing less than shameful.

  29. Joel says:

    Great Article. Really helps sum up the issues that are long and historical, something that most people either don’t know or refuse to accept. I try to follow Indigenous Rights issues as much as I can as I do understand the utopian style society that Aboriginals believe in. Now, I’m not that naive as I know a utopian society is unattainable but having that at your goal can only lead to a better system and way of life. I am disgusted in how the our system of capitalism has mutated into something so much more than “work hard and you will be successful.” I am a white male, born in Canada, parents and grandparents also born in Canada but I am completely on the side of the Indigenous Peoples of this land. Happiness isn’t achieved through production and consumption (if you watch any television ads then this will seem like crazy talk), it is and should be achieved through working together to create a beautiful future for everyone. Canada is becoming a commodity slowly but surly, it already has for one country in particular. Let’s learn to live with the land, not on it. I also live in Ottawa, ON so if this movement continues to pick up traction, I’ll be there. Rise up, the time for revolution of the mind is long behind us, we need to catch up and catch up fast. Keep it up!!!

  30. Scott Gosselink says:

    I once trusted my government to do what is right for Canada and its peoples. So disappointing.

  31. Laura Calmwind says:

    We never made a treaty with Canada, treaties were made with the British Crown and Canada is the successor state. It is Canada’s responsbility to implement the treaties made between two sovereign nations.

  32. D'Arcy Rheault says:

    Have we still not reached the point were the absolute necessity of serious protest like a grand action of storming the parliament en mass (like by thousands of Indigenous people) and taking over the house of commons by force is needed to make the world’s media pay attention for a change? Seriously, I what exactly is there left to lose at this point? Nobody cares about an “Indian” starving herself or a bunch of “those” people talking about treaty rights. I say open agressive revolt is all that is left to us. Let the bodies pile so high that the will of this racist bunch of fascist goons we call the government of Canada has its back broken. Like I said… what do we have to lose?

    • What do we have to lose? Our ways of dealing with conflict? Our traditions? Our lives, ourselves…we are not peoples who resort to violence to be heard, we are people who defend our lands with our lives. The two are very, very different principles.

      • D'Arcy Rheault says:

        I also once felt the same way as you. Honour the ancestors through peaceful action and ethical resistance. Now I now beyond a shadow of a doubt that the settler establishment thinks we are a bunch of idiots who deserve to lose everything. We have nothing left to lose. Our traditions? Like what treaties… consensus governing? All the fascists see is a bunch of primitive people who are not worth a single iota of their attention. I will say it again and again… there is nothing left to lose. Acquiesce? my ancestors deserve more.

        • We all have to choose how to respond, kiyam. ekosi.

        • sikak iskwew says:

          i once posed the idea to a friend of blowing up mount rushmore to rid the land of the gross colonial graffiti and defacement of sacred stones there in the image of whitemen whose mandate was the total genocide of indigenous peoples. it made perfect sense to me….she, (originally from chile during pinochet’s regime) said: who does it serve to bring more violence to a place where so much violence has already been done? isn’t it the same if you are to do to that place what the colonials have done to it? i said: but i would be restoring it and ridding the stones of this narcissistic burden….she said: how is your violence different from theirs? the stones will still be traumatized by a violent action, regardless of the reason for it. at the time i didnt get it…but what she was saying was that violence is violence…the justifications for it do not matter to the dead and the victimized in the end. colonizers use violence to terrorize and victimize to impose their agenda….how is what you are suggesting different from a colonial agenda? im not against violence, i am against the irresponsible and angry use of it…i believe in self-defense. make no mistake, my people were a warrior people who fought died and took lives. but they did not do it unthinkingly or without ceremony, praying and awareness of the responsibility to carry the burden of having taken life. counting coup was viewed as a greater feat than straight up homicide. there may come a day when first nations people are given no choice but to go into battle against colonizers. that day is not here and there are many avenues for resolution to these issues, many white canadians who are also tired of the old “solutions” and open to trying something new, including incorporating indigenous ethics into negotiations and political processes. white youth are more educated about history than their parents, and they are making those connections….your cynicism is understandable, but if you become the colonizer (by adopting colonial methods), then they have conquered you. utterly.

          • D'Arcy Rheault says:

            In South Africa ” Discouraged about the lack of results from their nonviolent campaign, Nelson Mandela and others called for an armed uprising, creating the Umkhonto We Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”) that paralleled the nonviolent resistance. That, too, failed to tear down the apartheid system, and in the end a concerted grassroots nonviolent civil resistance movement in coalition with international support and sanctions forced the white government to negotiate.“ But…. we have no international support and all that is left of us is a tiny minority, many living in 4th world conditions. All I know is that if we continue to acquiesce to mainstream settler beliefs that civil society and Neo liberal democracy are the only way to do things then we as the original peoples are, to put it bluntly, fucked.

          • sikak iskwew says:

            and steve biko, also born from apartheid, said: the greatest tool in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed…he believed that his people needed to be psychologically liberated as much as they needed to be physically liberated, perhaps even more so before they could successfully organize for physical liberation.

            he also advocated for non-violence as a preferred tactic. and this in the middle of an environment and era that spawned the sharpeville and soweto massacres in which children were murdered by white afrikaaners. his reality was much more defined by imminent and immanent violence than ours today, yet he still promoted non-violence.

            this is not just a material struggle, it is an ideological one and the power of a symbolic victory can have the momentum to inspire even the most craven and hardened of colonial actors to reconsider their course of action. how much easier is it for the oppressor to justify violence against an oppressed they can recast as “terrorists” because they hold a weapon? even a stone? (as we have seen happen with our arab relations in palestine in their struggle)…although i understand their use of violence is born out of their desperation and lack of faith in the colonial process, its use has only allowed the israeli zionists to ease their consciences as they shoot down children and the elderly, pregnant women and non-combatants. for both sides, violence has become a way of life that has replaced anything else.

            have faith in the people. its been 500 years…by all accounts we should have been all gone 150 years ago…ghosts wandering the plains. but we are here online posting in the comments section of this amazing woman’s blog, ideologically free, spiritually and psychologically unconquered against all reason and every odd that was stacked on the side of our people’s extinction. we were outnumbered then and we are outnumbered now…the only difference is that we have more freedom to organize today than our ancestors did. but we need to be careful….noam chomsky said: “Control of thought is more important for governments that are free and popular than for despotic and military states. The logic is straightforward: a despotic state can control its domestic enemies by force, but as the state loses this weapon, other devices are required to prevent the ignorant masses from interfering with public affairs, which are none of their business…the public are to be observers, not participants, consumers of ideology as well as products.”

        • tus says:

          They think we are idiots and “filthy Indians” because they do not know us, they do not understand us and our way of life. The racist people who label us this way do not know that growing up as FN, we were taught to respect all our elders, to make them tea and serve it to them. To listen to our elders because through them, they teach us to respect mother earth and all living things and human beings, that we are all connected. How can we be idiots if we were taught all of this and still keep it in our custom to this day??

          And before I get comments on how a lot of FN have a high rate of incarceration, let me say this; what do you think happened to them or their ancestors who went to residential schools?? Anyone who has “demons” clawing at them know the only way to drown out those demons is through alcohol, or inflicting the same pain on someone else. Their spirits, and innocence were destroyed by residential schools.

          So I hope before us FN get racist comments, I say this; walk 500 years in my moccasins, and then call me a “filthy indian”

      • karen says:

        I love this answer even as I wonder where the breaking point will be. I hope there will be no breaking point except with the public, who will see there is no sane alternative but to back the side that makes the most sense. I’ll take your historical traditions and ways over the ways of the colonizer. I’ve lived in more than one area they colonized and there is something so obviously broken about their ways.

      • tizhameh onyateru’ (thank you friend)
        Well thought-out words Daniel Nikpayuk. If we don’t notice stepping rungs in the pit we were thrown in, we’ll never be able to see clearly enough to use them as rungs to crawl out. Clarity , a clear mind is important. A few random violent acts can sabotage and discredit a movement, because the media feeds on it and delivers blood-drama to us fresh daily. As Wyandot faithkeepers we would consult with the clan mothers, grandmothers known for wisdom and whose only agenda is to watch their grandchildren waking in mornings of sunshine. We need the wisdom of grandmothers now.
        We in the states are watching closely and i know the BIA is also. It will only be a matter of time till our own US gov. will decide FN people here are all assimilated citizens now, and they do not need to keep the treaty obligations they promised our ancestors…its coming…
        Here we tribal people have been internally weakened by extreme American patriotism and flag waving. There are few FN who would even venture civil disobedience, because we have been seduced by a successful colonial drive within this country to saturate us with patriotic propaganda even at pow-wows, and the “great white father” is great on giving out — the “trinkets”. Some might be upset at my evaluation, but i see here in Oklahoma extreme apathy and shrugging indifference.
        Our cultures are drying up before us, and the majority of our people are simply yawning….
        I’m encouraged to see the fire burning in the minds and hearts of my brothers and sisters in the north. ndae’ yawahstih !

    • who’s bodies are you so willing to pile up? this is just anger talking. Our warriors know its about strategy, not lining ourselves up before a willing firing squad, untill they get too tired of pulling triggers.(when will that be?) OUR people are on the higher moral ground, we aren’t sandbags and one life lost is too many if a problem can be solved using wisdom.

    • To Chelsea Vowel and all readers of this blog,

      I wish to be clear that the statements I made last week in this comment section were never meant to advocate an ‘actual’ revolution or violent rebellion in Canada. My (in hindsight inappropriate) intention was to play ‘devil’s advocate’ and thus begin a broader conversation about violent protest versus passive peaceful protest. If the replies to my comments are any indication I believe I was successful in this. Consequently, I wish to thank Chelsea Vowel, sikak iskwew, tus, karen, and richardzanesmith for very eloquent and thoughtful replies.

      I can see that my comments, taken out of context, may potentially cause some apprehension and possibly fear in some individuals reading them. I wish to state clearly that I do not advocate the ‘actual’ storming of the Parliament of Canada by Indigenous peoples, nor the forcible taking of the House of Commons or believe that Indigenous peoples should sacrifice their lives as part of a protest against the Federal Government.

      I have been severely reprimanded at my place of work due to these comments. And due to the horrific events in Connecticut that happened a few days after I wrote these comments I have been contacted by the police in order to judge whether I present a threat or not. I am glad to say that no legal action has been taken against me at this time.

      If you have any comments or questions please contact me at the following email address.

      Please accept my sincerest apology for what I wrote.

      D’Arcy Rheault/Ishpeming’enzaabid (Bizhiw)

  33. Tony Broscomb says:

    Quite frankly, I don’t know where to start: playing Indians and Cowboys in England (1949)? Coming to the land of Indians (Canada, 1952))? Starting my teaching career with a preference for anything Canadian (literature, history, geography, Indians). Moving to Brantford, ON., and being right next door to the Six Nations (1975) where, contradictory to what I was teaching, was told by a high school history teacher there were no Indian problems? Being brushed off by Marc Lalonde at a meeting when I requested information about the Liberal’s stance on native affairs? Told not to waste time trying to teach native boys and girls in my class (St. Eustache, 1962/63)? When the high degree of continuing misbelief about aboriginal problems finally got to me and I switched to feel-good stories (all the Indians who had made good – “Tonto”, Stan Jonathan, etc.,)? Numerous letters to assorted relevant federal ministries over the last 40-50 years? Or more recently, a love-hate relationship with the Conservatives over smart, positive and equally incredibly ignorant decisions, the latter relating especially to the environment.

  34. John says:

    Edit: poisoned rhetoric full of ‘you guys are immigrants too’ and ‘get over it’ and ‘too bad’. Ignorance displayed without shame, how disheartening. As with others who do not attempt to dialogue but only come to rant, you are unwelcome here and will not be permitted to access this blog as a platform.

  35. hatchdad says:

    For my part, a humble Nova Scotian, I’d lived my whole life in Nova Scotia up until 24. So did my father, his father, his father’s father, all the way back to 1613. That’s a pile of years. I identify myself as Canadian, or North American, but certainly not European.

    I also identify as a native north american, is what I’m saying. As much as any living today born into the internationally recognized borders of Canada, regardless of ethnic origin. I’m not first peoples, but I’m not from anywhere else. I’m not racist against anybody (it does no good). I’m not for taking anybodies treaties away either, but Canada (or whatever you’d call it) is my native land.

    A question, from someone who does not know. Do first nation peoples enjoy every benefit of being a Canadian? Do the treaties limit citizenship somehow?

    • You are not a European, but the term generally used is ‘settler’. I offer you this so that when you see this word, you understand its context.

      No, First Nations people do not enjoy every benefit of being Canadian. You can find out more detail on what is lacking and what is withheld in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples…the highlight (summary), or the whole report. You can read some of the articles in the “Aboriginal Issues Primer” section of this blog as well. There is a lot of information out there, but effort is needed…much of this information is not well understood.

      I offer you these sources because one of the things we need from Canadians, is that they become more aware of these issues so that when we ask for support, as we are asking now, the situation does not become confused by myths and rumours. This is also a longer term goal, however. Canadians need to understand their own history and their own relationship with the First peoples of these lands. Otherwise we will never move past this poisoned place we are all in.

      My thanks for your interest, I hope you continue learning!

    • sikak iskwew says:

      well, then there is the question of whether or not i agree to being called “canadian”. which i do not. im not canadian and neither were my ancestors. im happy with being nehiyaw/muskego and do not want to be considered a “canadian” because it does not have the capacity to encompass or describe my reality since canadian is a colonial identity, it is not an indigenous one. that being said, the frame needs to expand to make room for people like me. and like you. you dont identify as european though you are not indigenous to my homelands. what are the implications of that? i had a coworker once ask me what qualifies as indigenous? how long does one have to be in an area before they are considered indigenous? 400 years? 4000? i said, indigenous means that we settled these areas first and established continuous habitation, then europeans arrived. so they are not indigenous to these lands. the timeframe is an interesting matter…still thinking about it.

      • Exactly. Many of us do not identify as Canadian.

      • Kevin says:

        Timeliness are an interesting question. Are the Acadians or Quebecois indigenous to Canada, they certainly have no other homeland (not France for sure!).

        The more important question is similarity of experience, however. Although my ancestors (Irish and Ukrainians) faced oppression by foreign colonizers (Brits in one case, Poles, Austrians, and Russians, and Germans in the other) I would never claim their experience is the same (there are parallels, however) as that of the FN, Métis, and Inuit of Canada or the Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Indigenous Australians, Maori, or San (Bushman) people.

        What those later people have in common is that they had their lands expropriated, an alien (European) state, economy and society build over top of them, but were not allowed to participate in (not full citizens [FN in Canada can’t vote till 1960]) and were kept separate (reserves and other isolated places) but also not allowed to keep their traditional structures on the small pieces of land they did control (band structure imposed on reserves, etc.). The other key thing is racism. Irish could pass for Brits by converting to Protestant and speaking English, Ukrainian could pass for Polish by converting to Catholicism and speaking Polish), an Aboriginal Australian in 1870 (1970?) could not (completely) assimilate to Australian settler society even if he or she wanted to, because of skin colour racism. (This was the position of all African peoples before the 1960s, BTW, so I see a strong parallel between Africa’s problems and African-American problems and Aboriginal problems in Canada.)

        There are different types of colonialism, and they have different effects. In one type, people were simply exterminated and their lands taken (Beothuk in Newfoundland, Tasmanians) possibly to be filled with enslaved colonized people from another place (coastal Brazil, the southern US, Caribbean). In another, first peoples are displaced and herded into tiny remotes pieces of land, either with some degree of consent due to their weakening by disease and hunger (Canadian Prairies), or following full warfare (Western US), or the settlers just move in and occupy the land without treaty and there is little the first peoples can do to resist (most of Australia, British Columbia). Or a colonial government in faraway place claims sovereignty over a remote people who have little contact with the gov’t for many years, but by then it’s too late to do anything about it (Canadian Arctic, Australian deserts, Kalahari deserts). Sometimes individual settlers wage war on first peoples to get their lands and gov’t is only indirectly complicit (New Zealand (?), present-day Amazon, historically parts of the Eastern US). The most common types in the world, however, were the decapitate the leadership and a) install a permanent class of wealthy settlers as leaders (Mexico, Peru), or b) install new local elites loyal to you (India, most of Africa and the Arab world). You could also leave local elites formally in power but force them to sign unequal treaties (China, Thailand).

        Imperial happened within Europe of course, but did colonialism? Europeans practised most of those despicable things they did to first peoples to each other. They enslaved each other (literally in Rome and Greece, virtually in Russian serfdom), forced unequal treaties on weaker states, they bribed each other’s governments, they installed puppet kings, and they took lands from each other, make war on each other, and slaughtered each other in the millions (WWI). The only thing they didn’t do was try to exterminate each other (before 1933). But Hitler broke this taboo. He explicitly used colonialism as his model for Europe. German settlers would humiliate the Brits, crush the French, exterminate the Jews and Gypsies, evict the Slavs, and enslave any survivors. Europeans saw the evil of this close at hand for the first time. And that is why decolonization began almost immediately after WWII ended.

        And so the entire world is involved in the complicated legacy of colonialism. But that doesn’t mean all peoples experiences of it are the same. Quebecois are probably a colonized people, but they are also settlers from the point-of-view of the Inuu or Mohawk. It’s complicated, it’s messy. We have to learn to deal with it.

  36. Antonello says:

    I’m a new settler and I’d like to support the First Nations claims. What are my options, beside voting for any party clearly respectful of Canadian treaties? I’m really impressed by the peaceful attitude of the First Nations people and I believe they are an example on how the human race should respectfully live in harmony with the hearth.

    • Learn learn learn! That’s the biggest work that needs to be done, on an ongoing basis, from here on out. Learn about the total history of Canada, learn more about the history of those who were here before the Europeans, learn whose territory you live on today, learn about the issues. There are so many issues, that you will have your pick of them when it comes to buckling down and working towards solutions on any one of them. We also need Canadians to be calling out for an honest reworking of the relationship between Canada and First peoples. The colonialist approach is killing us, and it isn’t healthy for Canadians either.

    • Welcome, and know that as a new Canadian, you automatically inherit one side of the treaty relationship. Every Canadian citizen is a “treaty person” and while Canadian governments have responsibilities to this reality, so too does each person.

      Live it!

  37. Seamus says:

    Until the citizens of this nation learn to support one another without getting caught up in old arguments about what belongs to who progress is unlikely. When will we learn that the methods of control are only strengthened by pointless infighting amongst the masses. That they want us to notice all the differences between one another and fear what we do not understand, what ever happened to compassion and understanding of your common man? If true change in the positive for the collective heath of our children, nature and protection of love amongst all is truly going to happen we must unite as a people regardless of ethnicity, until we get past our petty squabbles towards one another how can we hope to change?

    • I support this message as long as it doesn’t come with a side dish of “this means First Nations have no claim to the land”.

      • Seamus says:

        It certainly doesn’t, I feel we all have a claim to be happy and healthy. To provide a sustainable future for ourselves and our children as one people treated equally. Is there room for people of all back rounds in your vision, or only for the natives to this land? If all the problems surrounding your people were resolved would there be a place for others as well?

        • Good to hear, unfortunately a lot of the ‘supportive’ messages we get come with some pretty serious colonial baggage.

          There is of course space for non-indigenous peoples here. We made that compact through Treaty, and though Canada has failed to uphold its side of the relationship, most indigenous people still consider themselves Treaty people. There are very few people honestly expecting anyone to leave and my focus is certainly not on that at all. It is on rebuilding what absolutely can be a healthy relationship.

    • sikak iskwew says:

      define “petty squabbles”. because if you are referring to the historical crimes committed against indigenous peoples as “petty” because they happened “in the past” or because they have no bearing to you personally today, then i would respond that you need to secure your own baggage before engaging into a dialog about how “we” move forward. the “old argument” of stolen land and the historical undermining of sovereignty is never going to be off the table because these are inextricably related to actual exercise of indigenous sovereignty today. we cannot ever hope to be viable nations in and of ourselves with all the positives of nationhood unless the grievances of the past are settled now. and they need to be resolved because things are the way they are now because of these things…including land claims and changing the ward relationship to one of nation to nation defined by conventions of diplomatic relations and recognition.

      ethnicity is a critical issue that must be addressed, not ignored or dismissed as irrelevant in the name of a greater humanity. reality does not work that way, because we live in parallel canadas where my experience of it is dictated by the color of my skin, the shape of my eyes, my facial bone structure that identifies me as indigenous and qualifies my experience as a largely negative one as much as a white person’s experience qualifies their experience of canada. every moment of this oppressive and unjust history is contained in every interaction between an indigenous person and a colonial whether they consciously acknowledge it or not, and it informs their relations. i prefer to address the subtext and implicit interactions directly as doing so is far more productive than staying focused on the superficial and surface.

      if you want to be an ally, you cannot take shortcuts through the process because it makes you feel uncomfortable. stay in the fire and be born into a stronger consciousness.

  38. Pingback: #idlenomore | The real Aboriginal Canadian Food Guide

  39. Doreen Asapace says:

    First is was residential schools and when that failed, then the government amended the act to include mothers who married non status and their children, they were secretly doing away with the Indian and when that was not fast enough, it is now Bill-C-45 anyway at all to do away with the Indian I don’t mind if they do away with anything as long as they pay rent for all of Canada

  40. 1 – A person may be Canadian.. yet cannot identify whatsoever as being of the First Nations

    2 – A person may be of First Nations.. and also identify as Canadian.. that is their right

    The only folk that take umbrage at this are our current government..
    and inbred related jackass jackals that prop up such sanctimonious political pimps
    … That’s should not be surprising…

    3 – That’s a 3rd grouping.. that of failed and flawed sanctimonious politicos, lobbyists, volunteers, petro-theocrats, extremists, carpet baggers, toads and public serpents … This would be the unholy alliance that adores OIL, Israel, Afghan torture, killing pensions and unions, swears by China, gives not a damn about salmon, habitat, caribou, Orca.. thinks diluted bitumen is a cocktail that will make all Albertans rich and asks when do we get our F-35’s so we can go after people with brown skin.. ?

    • ECinBC says:

      Whoa. Lot of hate there. Don’t you hate being categorized yourself? I’m in a fourth category, and in Canada’s cities you will see many like me: born in another country yet not here as a carpet-bagger, toad, in-bred jackal, etc.

      • New Canadians inherit a legacy of genocide and colonialism in a way that is different perhaps than that of the original settlers. Many new Canadians come as products of colonialism as well. Nonetheless, all people who settle here have a responsibility to understand the colonial history and present of Canada. I would consider new Canadians simply in that first category.

  41. Thank you for writing this! We need more voices like yours! As a fellow Montrealer and aboriginal person I would like to bring your attention to a demonstration that is happening this Saturday December 15 at 2pm against Resolute Forest Products who are clear-cutting POIGAN, ancestral Algonquin territory in Parc Laverendry.

    The protest will take place at 111 Rue Duke, Montréal, QC, H3C 2M1 in front of Resolute Forestry offices and then continue to the foot of the Mount Royal (at 3pm) and later at Lambi Club (4465 St. Laurent) for the benefit event NOPIMIK featuring drummers, dancers, singers, poets, slammers, visual artists, d.j.’s and surprise guests.

    For more information and the complete list of performers please visit the facebook event:

    For more information on the cause please visit

    Please help us by publicizing the event widely!

  42. Thanks so much for this post. I have found your blog really helpful in the past, and it was good to come back today and read your thoughts on the Idle No More movement.

    Also, I think we must share the same “local laundromat slash fair trade café.” It would be good to meet up over a coffee (or a load of laundry) sometime in the new year. I’m a writer and very interested in these issues, but have much to learn.

  43. Milena says:

    I am watching, and I am listening. I do not know what to make of it all as of yet. I am leery about how there are no voices from the environmentalist groups about the waters, that has me leery.

    The Treaty Agreements have become a sour business deal in my opinion. Trust has been broken. The Queen’s people have not kept to their side of the agreement. It all has gone south, and went there a long time ago. Funny thing is, we are ALL Treaty if you really look at it.

    I am FN registered in SK. I live in the city, I pay my own way in life. I know how to live off the land if I needed to, I know I could survive. Survival upon this continent is brutal, and yet it was the Original people of this continent that taught the settlers how to survive here. Today we enjoy the progress of technology that teaching the Settlers survival has brought to this land. As Original people we have been assimilated, and to our detriment in as such, that if all the world systems collapsed today, many would not know how to survive according to the roots of their peoples.

    I think we have become to bogged down with differences of people, so much so that the intrinsic value of simply being a human is lost. To be human, we can not do it alone. We eat, breath and need to sustain our life source. We have been given this planet as a gift to sustain our life source. The beautiful simplicity of it all has been lost for a long time. We can re-initiate that simplicity, but we cannot know exactly how it once was, for even the Earth is not anymore as she once was.

    I have lived my life upon this earth never feeling the right to Treaty entitlements simply by the color of skin I was born with. When I was a child and cried that I was not brown like my grandmother, she told me I had to learn to walk in two worlds and neither one would fully accept me, nor would it be easy. I have seen and learned that she was right. I have done my best to walk this life with a good heart, and have been thankful for those who have seen my heart rather than the color of my skin. I have stood up at tables full of “pale faces” where they spoke in derogatory manner of the brown skins, and I have stood up and put them in their place with a “shame on you”. I have been at tables of brown skins and treated badly for the color of my face, and I have stood up for myself and said “shame on you also”. It may be the differences that divide us, and it might mean that we need to lean on each other in the commonality of being human that will see us through to positive growth and change as a society. I do not have answers.

    As a human being, I have many tools that I use to guide my daily life. I believe that the Land is God’s land, given to us by the Creator to sustain our life. 2 Chronicles chpt 7;14 says:” If my people which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” I came across this the other day, and it made me consider all that is going on in the world, all the turmoil and fighting, wars, starvation and disconnectedness of persons. If all Human Beings would humble themselves, great things will happen. It might be impossible to ask the Government to Humble themselves, but the people who make up that body are not beyond it. For them I pray also.

    I pray for the best possible outcome, that will give way to goodness and sustainability of all life. I thank those who are giving their time to learn, to research to make correct information available. I am thankful to see those who will listen, and those who will speak, and those who will do. I am thankful to be alive on this earth today. In the end, all my thoughts, my desires and my hopes can never be taken from me, unless I concede them to another. Take Care out there. Be Prepared, do what you can, go where you can, just go and do in a Prepared way. Many Blessings to each of you this day.

  44. Daniel Nikpayuk says:

    Tansi âpihtawikosisân,

    First I would like to say thank you for sharing your comment space and allowing Canada to move forward in the Discussion. We are grateful for your contributions. It is the Women leading the communities back to health, and we’re in awe.

    I would like to use this space to brainstorm strategies to move forward with Idle No More. I do not claim my ideas are correct, but I must take a chance in sharing them, for the sake of my relations.

    I am Inuit, my educational background is Mathematics. Please forgive me if my language is technical and rigorous, it is how I was trained analytically, and I find it is most useful in strategizing.


    To start, regarding “strategizing” as a “thing”, all such rationalizing is done with language, and so it helps to have an understanding to what langauge is. For me, it is a tool, it is technology. It’s absolute most basic function is to “divide”. As for using language and words to divide, there are two well known varieties: structural and interpretational.

    When one privileges structurally dividing up one’s known world, it is done by ontology: by turning the world into “types” of things. When one privileges interpretational division, it is done by hermeneutics: by turning the world into “processes” of things. Any other means of division can be considered a combination of the two (at least for our purposes here).


    I look at other recent movements like “Occupy”:

    and I look at its failures. I think if I were Harper, I would look at this Idle No More situation and brush it off: “Give it a few days, see if it extinguishes on its own. If not, offer them some trinket, some false peace offering to curry their favour and spin it as good politics, call it a day.” My point is, as many are starting to realize, we have momentum and we can’t let it die out. We can’t lose our Fire over trinkets either. We need to plan this out to make it last, to make it succeed, and even then, we need plans for what comes after. We need to be prepared.

    To this end, I first and foremost suggest let’s look at our Indigenous Histories and Memories, and use the generations of the wisdom of our Elders to inform our planning. Beyond this though, we need to understand “The Enemy” in a contemporary and even a global context.

    The idea of the “Enemy” is why I brought up the need to understand language as a technology. How do we define “Enemy” in strategic ways that also keep with our Collective Wisdoms?

    I put forth as good template—to advise in a supplementary way to our traditional teachings—the book:

    From Dictatorship to Democracy, A Conceptual Framework for Liberation, by Gene Sharp

    It is free for anyone to download here:,d.cGE

    As a quick summary, Gene Sharp studied a lot of literature around the world regarding conflict and oppression and he more or less summarized the various world’s people’s wisdoms learned over the centuries as how to approach a revolution. The main idea is to “politically starve” the dictator. There is a pragmatic wisdom though that no powerful entity (a dictator) would just let you starve it without retaliation, so in order to minimize that, the “democrats” should more or less “disorient” the dictator first. He goes on to include a comprehensive list as to tactics historically applied in various settings around the world to do as much.


    So, at first you might say: “Well, Canada is a Democracy already, and it might be fun to joke that Harper is a dictator, but the fact is he will have to leave office before he abuses his power to the point of irreperable societal damage.”

    Trained as a mathematician (and as an Aboriginal person frankly), I would say we look at relationships over details. The point is, if one were to replace the word “Dictatorship” to “Colonialship” in the title, and if one were to go a little further and substitute the word “Democracy” with “Partnership” most of the wisdom in this book would still apply.

    From Colonialship to Partnership

    With that said, we would still need to do some contextual translating. To begin, we would need to decontextualize and recontextualize the meanings of “Dictator” or in this case “Colonizer”. The general I suppose would be to go back to the term “Enemy”.

    My initial thoughts on defining “The Enemy” are to consider my own opinions as to the source of all this (if such a source is at all unique). It is my opinion that the source is the form of corruption that has existed for as long as the idea of “monetary inheritance” has existed. In-and-of-itself there is nothing wrong with monetary inheritance except there seems to persist a small percentage of people who become corrupt. They cheat their way unethically to wealth and pass on their inheritance to their children. What’s more, as part of their “inheritance” their children have learned to cheat lie and steal their way to “growing” their inheritance of wealth and power. This abusive cycle of renewal continues. I look at the Canadian context and I think there are certain strains of elitist families who for as far back as anyone knows don’t leave the realm of politics, using every political chance they get to continue their corrupt ways. Occassionally they even make it all the way to Prime Minister.

    With that said, my first attempt at defining “The Enemy” would be this “clique” or small groups of such—of influential people–including Harper. Now I like to bash Harper as much as the next guy, but I don’t think the Enemy is “him” or “them”. Firstly, because my Inuit upbringing tells me there is no wisdom in feeding such thoughts, but secondly, because even from a strategic point of view, it doesn’t really make sense. My strategies do not include anything insane like overthrowing a fairly stable government system that does work well for many peoples and people (just not original peoples it seems). In the Canadian Context of a Democracy, Harper and many of his clique will lose their direct political power sooner rather than later. As an attempt at brainstorming an alternative to “starving them” politically, we could “starve them” economically but again, my Inuit understanding of the world says there’s no wisdom in that, and furthermore, although I’m not a lawyer, I suspect that might just be illegal. Besides, even if it was somehow to happen, the “inheritance of corruption” would continue because there are those still who would be eager to replace them. One would have to get rid of the entire strain and that is beyond unethical.

    Actually, my own instinct tells me it is this “abusive relationship” itself that is the Enemy. This definition makes strategic sense too because the inheritors of this corruption are what feed this relationship and keep it alive. We cannot (and would not given our history) starve these people, but we have the momentum to starve this aweful relationship. In doing so we could maintain and renew all the good relationships that already exist with the multitude of cultures and peoples that share this nuturing land, and we could then finally be partners again.

    In order to do that, we first need to define its structures, to understand its processes. Fortunately we don’t have to start from scratch on that one because Indigenous essayists and artists have been figuring that one out for a while now. But we still need to do it. Regarding that I have no answers, it is as you said something we all need to figure out together. We need to continue the Dialogue about these things.

    What’s more, once we figure it out, how do we starve it? Does this way of thinking about it even have wisdom?

    What I can suggest as something specific is we need to make public and convenient a summary list of the resources we have available to us to do these things, so that we can readily have discussions about it. The first thing to compile would be who’s hosting what online regarding Idle No More? What are our current and main sources of communication?

    So far my own list is small:

    In anycase, I again thank you,

    Daniel Nikpayuk

    • sikak iskwew says:

      it will eventually starve itself; its trajectory is self-explanatory. what you are describing is, in fact, an ontological paradigm that began many centuries ago. the “enemy” is a belief system and many indigenous people have bought into it–are they, then, our enemy? i prefer to think of them as ill, as having been infected with an unhealthy ideology that is something like a mental illness for its disconnection from a grounded reality.

      i also understand europeans to be the most colonized of us all, having been so for many more centuries than indigenous peoples on turtle island; they need decolonizing as much as we do. from a social theory perspective (my own training is in anthropology and sociology) this paradigm is deeply maladaptive, not only from a social relations perspective but from a biological evolutionary perspective. it was never meant to sustain itself beyond the immediate goals of the now because its levels of consumption (not just of “natural resources” but of people) are inherently unviable and its processes deeply destructive.

      but because the immediate impact of such modalities is not felt (at least not by anyone who is not close to the ground zero of development, ie the cree who experienced mercury poisoning up north from industrial pollution, the ndgns who continue to live off the land, and the cree who are suffering from tar sands “development”, for example) by the urban populations who are insulated from it, then it remains a non-issue. but they will feel the impact. if not the current generation, then one after it. but thanks to the illness of the paradigm that encourages people to only think of the now and themselves, tomorrow has no relevance. tomorrow’s descendants are only theory and since they have no true substance to this colonial generation’s existence, they are insignificant. this is how you create a world in which money replaces a morality grounded in communal consequences and a definition of communal that includes non-human beings as well as unborn generations.

      the truth is that we are all indigenous to earth, but some of us have lost our indigeneity (the vast majority of europeans for example) and have replaced it with “the enemy”, an ideology that permits callous disregard of the inescapable reality that we are inextricably interconnected with this amazing planet in miraculous ways that are only barely understood by the masses. first nations traditions and ethics can provide a viable alternative to “the enemy” that has the potential to ameliorate nihilistic and anomic social relations that create a space for destructive and exploitative social relations to thrive. one poster called the colonials windigo. my thesis posits western ideology to be premised on wihtiko-totamowin…a cannibal way of life. the only way to cure a wihtiko is through ceremony or death.

      part of the solution, i truly and passionately believe this, is to offer an alternative paradigm to people. something they can connect to and envision in practical ways being incorporated into their daily lives. our moniyaw relatives have been deliberately starved and lied to by their own people that hierarchies and oppressive social control are an inevitable reality of human existence. they are not. any indigenous revolution must make room for all colonized peoples whether they are white or brown, and offer them the opportunity to know what it means to be engaged in their own decolonization….to reclaim their own indigenous traditions and offer their own solutions to the enemy’s destructiveness.

      • Daniel Nikpayuk says:

        sikak iskwew,

        Thank you for your words. You are right of course. As richardzanesmith stated: “If we don’t notice stepping rungs in the pit we were thrown in, we’ll never be able to see clearly enough to use them as rungs to crawl out.” This idea of “The Enemy” is yet another rung; wisdom and experience will help us to see it as no more than an illusion.

        I would state though, that we still need also need to plan, we need strategy for what is happening here and now, and here and now the fire burns strong for Aboriginal youth. It is a recent Inuit saying that “Politics just yet another level of Hunting.” We still need points to focus on along with being able to step back and see the depth of the cosmos.

        Those that feed this abusive relationship we are in are not like the ill we have known in the past. Let us not give any more of ourselves up, but if we leave it up to this unsustainable relationship to starve itself over its natural course, those that feed it, those that are ill—who do not see themselves as ill—will see our wisdom as weakness. These people have been raised to exploit what they see as weakness. This is part of why all this suffering has dragged on for so long. Even sick people on their way to getting better can hurt those relations around them before they’ve finally returned to health, before justice is restored.

        We fast and strike and blockade through non-violent means as ways of educating—Education is the great leveller of what would otherwise be escalation; we disorient this abusive relationship through non-violent means not only to maintain and further build the healthy relationships we are in, but also, so that this abusive one is not able to lash out at us as it starves.

  45. Brian says:

    Nice… Project Democracy & Lead Now on Face Book are linking your thoughts via Huffington Post.

    The word is getting out. It fills my heart with joy that more will know.

  46. Tom Johnsson says:

    I have lived in six provinces and have visited many 1st Nations. It is obvious to any fair minded observer that those 1st Nations that have control of their lands and the resources on their lands are mostly managing very well. Those that do not are locked in a subservient situation waiting for the Indian Agents for a handout. This is a colonial system that has led to the degredation of a great culture and proud peoples. Every Canadian should support all 1st Nations in their efforts to demand a reform of the system that will give 1st Nations peoples a share of the resources on their traditional lands. We need to support their efforts to restore pride and encultured eductaion to their children and jobs and a good standard of living for their adult population.

  47. Gary Moostoos says:

    All Cheifs across the nation should support Cheif Spence by “Fasting” along side her for 4 days and 4 nights. Fasting is a traditional ceremony that is powerful. We have awakened the spirit NOW we should use what we preach. Spirituality is
    something that will help in the process. Protocol. These basic ceremonies of sacrifice have been forgoten…..Its NOT a “Hunger strike” thats the mainstreams way of looking at it…to our spirit its a Powerful sacrifice “FASTING”. Imagine how much more power the awakened spirit would have if only our leaders would follow what our great leaders in history followed and used ….What runs in our very vains …the land, the language & THE CEREMONIES…. just saying

  48. Aaron says:

    Very humbled at the mention, Chelsea. You rock, and I love this article.

  49. Snowbird (Diane) says:

    The “Indians” didn’t need the rest of the world, but the rest of the world desperately needs them!
    Thank you for being what you are.
    Snowbird (childhood name given to me by a Native family)

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  51. Tom Johnsson says:

    Well said!

  52. Jeannine says:

    Great article that opened my eyes to FN issues. The only thing I wanted to ask about was in the comments you wrote “white people in canada need to seek healing from their racist and oppressive culture before anything can be moved forward for anyone living in indigenous homelands. ” Are white people really racist? Do I have my head in the sand? I am white and never said or felt anything racist about any culture, colour, etc. In fact it’s the opposite. There is stereotyping and there is racism. Two different things. Stereotypes to me is simply ignorance. Racism is hate. I resent being labelled racist just because I’m white.

    • Racism is institutional…stereotyping is part of that but also exists on a purely individual level. The quote you refer to was not written by myself, but I absolutely agree. Settler culture IS racist, and oppressive, whether individual settlers consider themselves the kind of people to harbour prejudicial thoughts or not. Settler culture in Canada is founded on colonialism and to call it anything but racist is to engage in an act of deception.

      No one labelled you, personally, racist. They labelled settler culture racist. Understanding the difference is of major importance to settlers wishing to engage in any decolonisation work themselves.

    • Maybe it would help to distinguish between racism and notions of ethnic superiority. So far as I understand, racism rests in the conviction that certain ‘races’ are biologically, inherently, superior and others inferior. In fact, race does not exist – it is an invented notion without scientific basis.

      Notions of ethnic superiority can be seen in the assumption that, for example, it was OK for Europeans to come to the Western Hemisphere and take control of it, in the process killing off (both deliberately and through careless disregard) over 90% of the indigenous peoples and reducing the survivors to – at best – second class status, even outcasts. Until we whose ancestors came here feeling entitled to do this face up to history, we will be cursed to repeat it.

      • Jeannine says:

        Good explanation Susan. I’ve never felt it was okay for what they did, and even at a younger age I felt a little weird about thanksgiving.. I wondered how is this thanks when “my” ancestors just took over everything. (I’m not sure where all my ancestors came from). Does that mean I have to personally step up and do something and if so what do I do?

        • Hi Jeannine. I remember back in the days after the 1990 ‘Oka Crisis’, an Aboriginal woman told us that what we needed to do was, first, learn some of the actual history of this country, then start reasoning with our fellow ‘whites’. The greatest help we can be to justice for Aboriginal people will be to get many more good hearted non-Native people on their side.

          I used to consider a book by Metis historian Dr. Olive Dickason a good place to begin to learn that history, but these days I’m so out of the loop that I don’t know what to suggest. I’m sure some of the commenters can recommend, and of course the formidable Mistress of this blog. And if you like reading novels, search out some by Aboriginal authors – they can often get straight to the heart, which is where it seems to me real change first takes place.

      • sikak iskwew says:

        you cant really have a logical or coherent discourse about “ethnic superiority” unless you are also discussing its primary manifestation: racism. in fact, “white superiority” is a more accurate term than “ethnic superiority” as it is more specific to the root problem with is whiteness.

        since whiteness is a social construction that was necessary to create what yancey calls the manichean divide between goodness (whiteness) and badness (non-whiteness) in the politics of skin, notions of white superiority (and britain has a long history of constructing discourses of superiority based on blood and birth) were necessary in order for europeans (the british specifically) to justify invading tribal homelands and genociding the people who lived there.

        white superiority is the ideology that creates racism. pre-existing british caste structures based on ideas of divine birth, blue blooded nobility, fixed sanguinal rulership, etc, were a principle ingredient in the emergence of notions of white superiority once contact occurred…that is, the british were already primed for the move into racism because they had already established a radically stratified social structure based on a schema that determined one’s worth based on one’s birth.

        these traditions have not only remained embedded into canadian culture, but they are the bedrock upon which canada has been built. everything about the creation of canada is racist since the ideology, the ontological rationality for british culture (european, culture, really) is premised on notions of superiority, period, that became raced once contact was made.

        european social systems are inherently oppressive….do some history research. look at london in the 1500s and the 1600s. check out london in the 1300s….talk about brutal.

        • I agree. Not only is ‘whiteness’ constructed, but those privileged to do the constructing excluded not only non-Europeans, but also most of their fellow Europeans. There was a saying along the lines of ‘wogs start at the English Channel’, meaning that eg. the people of France were also ‘wogs’. And of course the Irish were not ‘white’. One of the greatest failures of human solidarity was that so many of the Irish, when given the opportunity, became as racist as anyone else. We observe this not only in Canada (witness some of ‘our’ neoCons of Irish origin), but also in Ireland itself.

          I’m reminded also of the Brazilian saying ‘money whitens’ – reminding us how class-based these things were and are.

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  54. Tom Johnsson says:

    A great place to start to learn about 1st Nation’s issues is to watch the films made by Alanas Obomsawin. “Is the Crown at war with us” is a good one to start with, althouigh any will do. They all have one thing in common, they show the abject betrayal of the Treaty Rights by Canadian governments, government agencies, police and social services over the past decades right up to today in her latest film “The People of the Kattawapiskak River”. This her latest film shows waht is currently going on in this 1st Nation in Northern Ontario, while hundreds of millions of diamonds are taken out each year from a mine on their traditional lands, with little or no benefit to these peoples.

  55. Hunnora says:

    I am saddened that the world has fallen into such chaos.

    The government, who seems to be unnecessary, is behaving like spoiled children. They are treating the people and the land like undeserved toys. Haven’t we grown past the stages of needing someone to set out rules they themselves don’t follow?

    • Kevin says:

      Government (of some kind) always exists. Politics always exists. Before Canada was around, there were complicated politics (and, yes, war) between the Iron Confederacy (Plains Cree and Assiniboine) and the Blackfoot Confederacy, or between the Iroquois and Huron.

      Back to the present, you can’t wish away politics, you have to engage with it. The alternative is to ignore and pretend, and hope it goes away. We know that doesn’t work, because if good people don’t engage in politics it just means there is no one to oppose the less good people.

      • Wendy says:

        Perhaps, politics/government(s) throughout history as we know it, are a work in progress, whereby any successes and failures (depending on where one falls in the scheme of things) as experienced is now to be reckoned with. There is no such thing as “can’t”. Yet, there are at least a 1,000 possibilities.

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  57. Daniel Nikpayuk says:

    Hello âpihtawikosisân,

    I am again commenting to personally thank: Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean for taking action the way they have, and getting Idle No More started.


    I would also like to update my list of online resources we have available (do not assume it is complete, and if anyone thinks I’ve missed something please share—and forgive me for the lack of Quebecois links, I regret that I do not know French):


    We still might not be getting the Mainstream Media Coverage that we’d expect from a Democracy, but there are a lot of really good articles and blogs out there right now (and there is a little bit of Mainstream attention):

    Certainly not all of these need to be distributed to everyone, but some are better suited for their respective audiences when it comes to “cultural translations” for our allies.


    For some interesting (though outdated by now) Statistics on the Twitter Trend:


    As for Artistic and Visual approaches:


    For donations:


    For this Movement to continue to live, it needs to be fed. Certainly the fire is burning and that alone will suffice, but building Infrastructure to better coordinate the flames wouldn’t hurt.

    We might not have the same funding as other recent movements, but Aboriginal Peoples are highly innovative people, and we have the support of our Allies.

    As for my expertise, I would not claim to be an absolute expert at computers, but I’ve read enough textbooks on Operating Systems, Computer Networks, various Programming Languages, that I am willing to volunteer my services. There is so much useful Open Source Software (meaning free in terms of cost) out there. If anyone needs advice on how to set up a File Server, or Mail Server or Web Server and/or Web Page in support of Idle No More, I am more than happy to assist. I am well versed in the Qt SDK (Programming Language) meaning if anyone needs Smartphone Apps for this Movement I can help with that too (unfortunately not yet iPhone, but Nokia Symbian, Android and Blackberry). If anyone needs a professional quality pdf I am well versed in the typesetting language LaTeX.

    To this end, I have made a temporary Hotmail account for anyone who wants to contact me:


    Finally, I have been thinking about some of the roles people can take. I’m speaking in a broader sense. First and foremost we need our “navigators”, the ones who will lead us to where we are going. As for where we are going? I myself think we are headed back to Healthy Communities, to Justice, to Partnership. Since this is the case, it seems at least half (and probably more) of the leadership will likely be our Women. They have so much wisdom, experience, and understanding of what a healthy community is.

    Regardless, even navigators can momentarily become disoriented, they can temporarily lose their way. it is the “translators” that support them by figuring out where we are and returning us back to where the navigators can again move forward.

    I see myself in the role of a translator.

    I am more than happy to be an individual citizen in this Democracy, but I also recognise that I belong to a larger community, and am happy to take on a role that allows me to contribute back.

    Daniel Nikpayuk

  58. Tli Cho Treaty 11 says:

    Edit: the only garbage is what you want to spew, but which I’m not about to give a platform to. ‘tlichowarrior’, you need to change your name to ‘tlichosettler’.

  59. Is the concept of ‘internal colonies’ useful? Just read this interview with Chris Hedges:

  60. Jeannine says:

    Do FN’s assume all whites are racist and or have the same attitude the Brits had when they signed the treaties? I’m all for learning about what my white ancestors did (I’m assuming my ancestors where involved) but stereotyping us isn’t helpful either. It’s just so hard to put the entirety of this into perspective when I wasn’t even alive when this happened. I didn’t ask for this. Not saying I will be complacent about this, this is very eye opening. I guess I just don’t know how to feel about it… should I feel guilty (I do regardless)?

    • Some of the work settler allies can and should do, is dealing with ‘white guilt’. No. FN’s do not assume all whites are racist…but native people are aware that Canada is fundamentally racist, in a systemic manner. Many of us do get very tired of helping settlers work through the ‘I wasn’t there when it happened’ and so forth until an understanding of what systemic racism means is reached.

      I think that would be a big suggestion I would offer to settler allies…that they help one another deconstruct ‘white guilt’ so that it does not fall on our shoulders to constantly clarify the issue.

      • karen says:

        I’m working on this project, hoping to publish in the new year.

      • ECinBC says:

        I really appreciate your clarity on this particular part of the struggle. It is not productive for a victim of the system to point a finger at a beneficiary of the system and say “You did this…you…you…you…” because people naturally get defensive, put up a wall and keep working against accepting the truth of your point of view.

  61. Can you imagine the Canadian government treating other nations it has treaties with the same way it treats us? Imagine if the contempt it showed for our treaties was shown towards the US and Mexico.

    I think any country wanting to enter into a trading treaty with Canada needs to know how little the federal government respects treaties.

    • Hi Chris. If I understand those in power in this country, they respect no one. They suck up to those with power and kick those without it. They are bullies. Not that either the neoCons or the Canadian government are unique in that respect – unfortunately. But the present lot seem to me to have the worst aspects of the small guy who lusts to be big. Thus the Canadian role in NATO, the irrational desire for lots of F-ing war-planes, etc.

  62. Daniel Nikpayuk says:

    I have a question:

    I am not well acquainted with Political Science or Law or theories of societal governance. To put it less than delicately, as best I can tell the colonial understanding of “Democracy” seems to maintain the need for apathetic consumerist individualism. I could have that completely wrong—and I am the first to admit and apologise for my ignorance—but my point is as a comparison, and my question thus is, regarding other forms of Democracy: Does having many nations bound by Treaties (like Canada) contradict the idea of Democracy?

    I personally believe it doesn’t, and I ask the question in hopes someone will reply with a deconstruction for anyone who might feel defensive or apprehensive about reforming a system of Democracy.

    Thank you.

    Daniel Nikpayuk

    • Kevin says:

      Democracy is a slippery topic. Thousands upon thousands of volumes have been written on what it might mean. But at its most basic level “demos” (the people) “kratia” (power) simply means that the citizens direct their governance. This could include appointing people sign treaties on the community’s behalf, for instance. But it might also mean directing their government to tear up treaties and enslave their neighbours (ancient Athens did this all the time). Democracy could mean just about anything, really.

      Treaties presuppose that someone (whoever signs the parchment or smokes the peace pipe, etc.) has legitimate authority to make promises that bind their entire community. Democracy, however practiced, is the main method of granting that authority in the modern world (but the divine right of kings works too).

      As to “apathetic consumerist individualism”, that is less than 100 years old, democracy is thousands of years old. But I would argue that we have become better societies during the “apathetic consumerist individualism” era with less racism and sexism, so it while I don’t like it, it has its upsides.

      • Some Marxist, I think it was Leon Trotsky, called democracy when ‘every cook governs’. The closer we have to that, the more it really is democracy. Is true democracy possible in mass societies? Maybe, maybe not, but if ‘ordinary people’ don’t both pay attention and assert themselves, democracy will become more and more remote, a word that means nothing except an excuse to bomb countries that ‘our leaders’ are displeased with.

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  66. Morningstar Mercredi says:

    I had a vision/dream once.

    I woke in tears.

    Corporate World Investors want to control global population so Corporate World Investors ordered poison to be placed in the water and air, only the fittest would survive. Those who survived would not be allowed to live unless they surrendered to the Corporate World Investors rule.

    Corporate World Investors focused on killing third world populations and Indigenous peoples.

    Tanks and armies came in and arrested people…many died and suffered.

    In my vision/dream…the people never surrendered and the GWI mandate was revealed…

    The masses were unaware of what hit them until it was almost too late and the Indigenous people did guide them.

    Time to WAKE up.

    Mother Earth will heal herself and the birthing will be felt.

    I have faith in the human spirit. I have faith in all my relations.

    ~ keep it simple ~

    UNIFY and LET US TAKE A STAND UNDER THE SAME SUN AS WE BREATHE THE SAME AIR…not to simplify the issue of TREATIES, please remember, the TREATIES are about unification and living under the same sun, breathing the same air, for as long as the rivers flow…WATER – humanity – we must not allow the GWI to consume the earth, our mother.

    Much love and respect,


    When you see the people’s revolution, remember, they are the grassroots and the first to be targeted when the military police are told to move in, which will happen in a matter of time.


    This is NOT AN INDIAN ISSUE !!

    THIS IS AN HUMAN ISSUE, get informed, read.

    There is a lot of info.

  67. Daniel Nikpayuk says:

    I have noticed that there are people who confuse the ideas of “nation” and “nation-state”.

    I have here quoted four pages (16–20) from the book of an academic ally on the matter: “Stories in a New Skin, Approaches to Inuit Literature” by Keavy Martin.

    Any typos are my own.



    In an 1882 lecture given at the Sorbonne, Ernest Renan asked the question “Qu’est-ce qu’une nation?” or “What is a nation?” In the resulting essay, he discusses the factors of shared race, language, religion, and “interests,” and one by one eliminates them as the defining feature of nationhood. Geography, he concedes, is an important factor; however, the true core of the nation lies in a kind of shared consciousness amongst its members—in “the possession in common of a rich legacy of memories…[and in] the desire to live together, the will to perpetuate the value of the heritage that one has received in an undivided form” (“What Is a Nation?” 19). This idea that nationhood is determined not by a set of shared characteristics, but rather by a kind of imaginary covenant between members, was later expanded upon by Benedict Anderson. The nation, Anderson said famously, “is an imagined political community” (6). It is based on a constructed narrative of a shared common history, identity, and often a common enemy. As Renan put it, “forgetting, I would even go so far as to say historical error is a crucial factor in the creation of a nation…[T]he essence of a nation is that all individuals have many things in common, and also that they have forgotten many things” (11). Anderson, however, frames this idea differently, asking why scholars of the nation have “assimilate[d] ‘invention’ to ‘fabrication’ and ‘falsity,’ rather than to ‘imagining’ and ‘creation'” (6).

    However, Renan, like Anderson, is in fact concerned with a particular kind of nation: the nation-state. Along with theorists like Ernest Gellner, Renan believes that “nations, in this sense of the term, are something fairly new in history. Antiquity was unfamiliar with them” (9). An invention of the “modern,” industrialized era, nation-states are political bodies defined by a “fusion of their component populations” (Renan 10). In other words, the nation-state is a political entity that can encompass multiple “ethnic” nations and is usually endowed with various institutions for managing its citizens. As Max Weber argued in his essay “Politics as a Vocation,” “a state is a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory” (78). Defining a nation as a political group outfitted with the trappings of statehood, however, dismisses the possibility of nationhood among non-industrialized peoples. Yet while the idea of the nation has certainly undergone changes, it has been around much longer than the era of industrialization. The Latin root of the term, natio, refers to birth and evokes a group of people connected by kinship ties. As such, a nation is literally a group of people linked by common descent, rather than a centralized administrative system (“Nation”). Thus we get a more general usage of the term which refer to a group of people, regardless of their political configuration. By this definition, the nation is a concept as old as humankind.

    Tom Holm, J. Diane Pearson, and Ben Chavis observe that “over the years, anthropologists, political philosophers, and Western academicians in general have developed a hierarchical set of definitions of the ways in which human beings organize themselves socially and politically. The lowest and, to use Western terminology, the most ‘primitive’ form of human organization is the band” (15). From the band—a small group of hunters and gatherers—societies “progress” to the tribe, the chiefdom, and the state (Holm, Pearson, and Chavis 15–16). These “evolutionary or developmental paradigms,” as J. Edward Chamberlin points out, “are pretty well discredited now”; however, the idea that human societies exist in hierarchical formations continues to be pervasive. “Scarcely a day goes by,” Chamberlin says, “that I don’t hear one or two traces of it in conversation” (“From Hand to Mouth” 139–40). It is assumed—often subconsciously—that the destiny of every people is to practise agriculture and commerce rather than hunting and gathering and to develop a written literature as a way to avoid reliance on the seemingly untrustworthy spoken word(footnote 8). Similarly, the assumption goes, in order to have a political life, and in order to be sovereign, a society must progress out of tribal obscurity and eventually form (or preferably join, or be subsumed by) a state (Holm, Pearson, and Chavis 15–16).

    This pervasive narrative may explain why scholars have had such difficulty acknowledging the political nature of pre-colonial Inuit life. Given a moment’s consideration, the idea that any people might exist without politics—that is, without forms of social organization, without systems of authority, without relationships and conflicts with other peoples, without struggles for power—is difficult to entertain. Inuit elders, furthermore, recall the complex systems of law and governance that were in place before the intervention of southern administrations; for instance, the second volume of Nunavut Arctic College’s Interviewing Inuit Elders series, Perspectives on Traditional Law, provides an introduction to complex legal concepts such as tirigusuusiit, piqujait, and maligait.(footnote 9). Many non-Inuit, however, have been hampered by the difficulty of recognizing cultural institutions in unfamiliar forms; as Indigenous scholars consistently point out, the academy itself has a chronic difficulty in recognizing Indigenous intellectual traditions and in engaging with them in responsible ways (Womack, Red on Red 1–24). This is one of the reasons why Indigenous scholars like Lee Maracle (Sto:lo), Simon Ortiz (Acoma), Craig Womack (Muskogee/Cherokee), Jace Weaver (Cherokee), Robert Allen Warrior (Osage), Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee), Lisa Brooks (Abenaki), Christopher Teuton (Cherokee), and Scott Richard Lyons (Onibwe/Dakota) have found a nationalist lens to be useful in formulating critical approaches to Indigenous literatures. Both the classics of the oral traditions and more recently created works of Indigenous literature, they argue, can be understood as articulating and bolstering the sovereign nationhood of Indigenous peoples. In this political motivation and utility, Indigenous literatures are nationalist.

    The term “nationalism,” however, comes with baggage, and Indigenous literary nationalists have been careful to distance themselves from the often-insidious nationalism of nation-states. As Daniel Heath Justice explains in his Cherokee literary history, Our Fire Survives the Storm: “assertions of Indigenous nationhood should not…be necessarily conflated with the nationalism that has given birth to industrialized nation-states, for the distinctions are significant. Nation-state nationalism is often dependent upon the erasure of kinship bonds in favor of a code of patriotism that places loyalty to the state above kinship obligations, and emphasizes the assimilative militant history of the nation (generally along a progressivist mythological arc) above the specific geographic, genealogical, and spiritual histories of peoples” (23). Here, the nationalism of nation-states is revealed to “fuse” divergent ethnicities into the project of statehood, he lauded it as part of a political entity’s journey to “full national existence, such as we see it blossoming today” (“What Is a Nation?” 10). Meanwhile, “ethnic” nations within the state must engage in what Said called “nationalist anti-imperialism” (“Yeats and Decolonization” 76). Indigenous nations therefore, oppose the nationalism of the American and Canadian states, which time and again have attempted to subsume them. To quote Justice again: “Indigenous nationhood is a necessary ethical response to the assimilationist directive of imperialist nation-states” (Our Fire 8).

    In order to better articulate their distance from the ideologies of the nation-state, and perhaps to escape the baggage of terms like “ethnic nationalism,” some scholars have employed the concept of “peoplehood” to define Indigenous nations. As explained by Holm, Pearson, and Chavis, Indigenous peoplehood is dependent on four intertwined and equally important factors: a shared language, sacred history, ceremonial cycle, and place, or territory (12). This model takes important steps towards complicating understandings of tribal nationhoods; in particular, it avoids the emphasis on ethnicity, or blood, that prevails in discussions of “ethnic” nationalism.(footnote 10) The term “peoplehood,” then, is perhaps a better description of Indigenous political groups than the term “nation,” as “nation” can either be dismissed as a generalized ethnic grouping, or confused with a “nation-state.” However, I will continue to make use of both terms, in the hope of keeping the political aspects of peoplehood in the foreground. Holm, Pearson, and Chavis explain that peoplehood “predates and is a prerequisite for all other forms of socio-political organizations…. It is the basis of nationalism and the original organization of states” (17). On its own, however, I would argue that peoplehood is also deeply political—it is the core of social organization, and the source of a community’s authority among other groups. Indeed, the peoplehood matrix reveals that Indigenous nations are imagined communities. As Womack reminds us, “to exist as a nation, the community needs a perception of nationhood, that is, stories (like the migration account) that help them imagine who they are as a people, how they came to be, and what cultural values they wish to preserve” (Red on Red 26). Even if a people inhabits a large territory and makes use of localized rather than centralized systems of governance, its nationhood is affirmed in its intellectual and artistic traditions—in the stories that it tells.

    • Daniel,
      again thanks for sharing thoughts on : definitions of “Nation” and “Nation-state”
      Using the colonizers (Greek/Roman based) languages is part of the problem.These languages are languages of NOUNS, many that are NOT descriptive. When a noun is spoken, speaker and listener sees/feels the noun very differently. The colonizers languages may be a language good for analysis but it is also a language for arguments and divisiveness. A compliment may feel insulting.
      I think as indigenous people we have to be careful when borrowing English/French/Spanish definitions. We can unwittingly start arguments even with the best of intentions towards unity building. We must define ourselves. If we use the word “Nation” we need to be careful that we are using it with the definition our people have given it and make sure settlers understand OUR definitions may be quite different .
      We need not yield to English, French, or Spanish NOUNS, but we need to creatively USE these languages to convey indigenous thought…very challenging…and now maybe we see some of what Tecumseh was dealing with. If we cannot draw our minds together as one, we are going nowhere.

    • Thanks, Daniel, for this useful explanation. World-wide, divide and rule has worked very effectively for imperialism, both under formal colonial rule and since. See it today, eg., across the Middle East and, still, in Ireland.

      Provincial boundaries impose divisions (eg. on the Cree nation), with those in different provinces forced to respond to provincial differences DESPITE Aboriginal people supposedly being the ‘responsibility’ of ‘the Crown’. Every sort of inconsistency and double-standard is made to work against Aboriginal interests.

      Hi Richard – thanks for mention of the great Panther of the sky! Yes, as many minds as can be drawn together being united is vital, yet the process of class-formation is so far advanced (you will remember that re. the ‘Cherokee’ two centuries ago) that, so far as I have learned about the history of colonialism in general, lines will have to be drawn between those happy to collaborate and those who refuse. Looking at Africa, I still hear ‘Africans must unite’. This is impossible, since Africans, like all other peoples, have class interests that most individuals will adhere to.

      Please excuse some fuzzy thinking here – haven’t been dealing with these issues for a while and still trying to get ‘up to speed’.

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  71. Thank you for these words – offered to enlighten the masses in what I call the the “sea of indifference.” I am a White colonial woman, taking on the responsibility to learn. Your blog is my favourite source of counter narratives to the racist stereotyping that has been embedded in Canadian society for far too long. I have a responsbility to take on the learning – and not at the expense of Indigenous people for being alive, and living off of the many benefits I have gained from the losses Indigenous people have and continue to experience. This decolonizing will continue to take life long engagement and self awareness. I have to look at myself… not at Indigenous people from a decolonial perspective.
    I bow to you âpihtawikosisân and you lessons here! Thank You!
    I stand with you!

    • Wendy says:

      I need to concur with the words said here. I am a white colonial woman, yet a shaman (lost this past while) and have always felt a kindred alliance with “medicine woman”, although I am not FN. I have always had love and wanting for the ways of the FN peoples, and for decades have held all indigenous people in my heart and being. I listened and watched all my life with little knowing as to exactly the recent revelations of what had come to be. Learning this past year of the schooling genocide, I posted far and wide to my over 200 FB friends globally the atrocities I had learned. I could not fathom that what I believed was a free and glorious Canada could have this kind of event in history, but worse, on-going to a great degree yet today. I reached out to anyone and everyone I knew to become aware.

      With so much respect and love for all of our indigenous people, for decades I hung above my front entrance the prayer to the “Great White Spirit” for all who entered into my home, as it was a greeting that is forever meaningful to me, more than any other blessing. I feel I had locked souls with FN peoples when i sprung from the womb even though I biologically was from full Finnish heritage. I feel like a guardian of some sort that I still do not fully understand, and I have watched over and held what I see coming forth this day in my heart for some time.

      When the Idle No More movement first stepped forward, I contemplated long and hard with such appreciation and gratitude. I actually posted in more than one place, while sharing my thought son Facebook that: “Wendy Pergentile, December 9
      I’m thinkin’ if all white (wo)men and governments would give back what was taken from all the indigenous peoples around the world, AND GIVE THEM, THE WAYSHOWERS, THE FREEDOM TO RUN THINGS FOR ALL OF US, WHAT A DIFFERENT WORLD WE COULD ALL LIVE IN ~ IN SO MANY WAYS. IMAGINE!” I felt this so deep in my heart! If you, all my relations, could manage in time to step into the role you originally had, and instead of being stifled took the helm and ran things according to the laws of our Mother Earth as no one like you understand it, what a potential glorious world we could potentially live in. It would be “crazy change” to most folk, yet…. I would support this in a heart beat! Step up, be who you are, show the way! You all have (and have had) my support in any way I am able.

      I have learned so much from this long commentary. I am sharing it for sure on my FB wall and encouraging everyone of my friends to read this in its entirety!

  72. I hope it is clear that I mean I have a responsibility because of the benefits I have gained at the cost of Indigenous people? For example- my mothers family came to Northern BC in 1927 and gained…free land. They sold the farm, bought a bigger one… then a bigger one. You get the picture If you knwo hos compound interest works – and when you consider over 100 people in this family as well, I don’t think we can ever comprehend these massive benefits? We must consider the flip side – along with the benefits come unfathonable costs… in lives and life chances to Indigenous children, families and communities. I refuse to discount, rationalize and minimize the gravity of this reality… It is in my face and I wear my privilge every day. I can act as an ally, so that my children and grandchildren, are not schooled in colonial institutions. These institutions are made for my White children, and teaches them in an assembly line to see themelves as better than, and treat Indigenous (and other people of colour)as less than. My children will know their colonial roots and that they have to act and be different. I do not want to contribute to another generation of colonial impact – and inhumane disparities. I truly pray for recognition of a common humanity… we White folks have a lot to learn! It is great to hear from many who are here to learn.

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  77. Bruce Weaver says:

    I have been a reader here for some time.and greatly appreciate teh teachings presented here. As someone raised white, it was a surprise to discover that my grandmother was Mohawk and in the last 2 years i have connected with cousins, embarced a new side of me and at age 70 am ready to help dispel myths and raise awareness of issues within my circles. I am very grateful to have such clear material to back up my discussions. I am finding many supportive people here in Guelph.

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  79. Diana says:

    Why don’t we put it forward that the speaker of the house be a native chief,elected by his people to uphold the laws of the house of commons. I think this could be a huge move.

  80. Anonymous Neechi says:

    It’s the perfectionist in me that prevents me from writing. I’ve been told many times that I should just put pen to paper and write. Just write! I try it that way and nothing makes sense. I want to write something so provocative that it will be my legacy. I want to provoke you into thinking; into feeling something, anything, because at least that tells me that you still care; that you still feel and from there, you and I have common ground. You and I can accomplish anything that we want to, if you are with me…. Are you with me?

    I am well aware of the perceptions that people have of my First Nations brothers and sisters. I am well aware of what is being said about my First Nations people and what some people think. I am more than familiar with the stereotypes and stigmatizations that are perpetuated by my people.

    So tell me something that I don’t know. Tell me something that will never be. Tell me, what our situation and circumstances would be today, had First Nation beliefs, practices and spirituality been respected. Would I be here today, wondering if my flesh and blood, great nieces and great nephew will have clean water to drink when they are my age, 22 years from now.

    I’d like to be able to choose to believe in the fallacy of a lie, of a falsehood that everything will be alright and there is nothing to be concerned about. But, the very essence of who I am prevents me from doing so. Everything that has created me and shaped me into the woman I am today requires me to ask such questions and to ponder such matters.

    Believe me when I tell you, I really did try to conform. I went along with the masses, because it was what was expected of a woman. I stayed in an unhealthy relationship for five years, because I was afraid to be alone; I was afraid of what people, friends, family, and strangers would say and think about me being an unmarried, childless woman. I choose to be unhappy for many years; to silence the voice within me, because it made people feel uncomfortable. I was so unhappy with who I was, that even thoughts of suicide seemed all the more better than living a life I could not endure.

    So now that I am ready to endure this life with you, are you ready to listen to us?

    • Snowbird (Diane) says:

      I’m listening. I’m a 64 year old woman who left Canada in 1966 to study in France, and stayed abroad since. You see, I started to listen to Native people when I was 6 years old, when two Native women took care of my frozen ankles. I “feel” things. And from the very start, I “felt” that Native people were beautiful. Not only physically, I mean really beautiful people. As a child, when someone would ask me “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would invariable answer: “I want to be an Indian”. As you can well imagine, that was a rather surprising thing to hear from a kid in the 1950’s and 1960’s…

      I know you speak the truth. I know how gentle you are. How kind you are. I know that you keep your word. You are wise people who respect the Earth. The settlers could have learned so much from you. Perhaps everything happens for a purpose. If you are restless, that is a good thing. You have stayed quiet for too long. You have suffered for too long. I have lived in many countries since I left Canada (Europe, Africa, Asia…) and have met many different people from all of these lands, yet none seemed as wise and as respectful as you are. That’s why maybe everything happens for a purpose: if you were invaded by so many people, maybe it was because, one day, you would need to teach all of these people your ways, when FINALLY they would HAVE TO listen to you. The world is sick. Sick with greed, sick with the pollution greed brings. If one people on this earth can show the way, it’s you. So BE restless and BE yourselves. Teach your ancestor’s wisdom. You could save the world.

    • Wendy says:

      I am ready to listen to you. I have tried the best of my awareness for a very long time and only now getting the reality of what has been tried to be communicated. I am sure I am not the only one. You are NOT alone and never will be! There have been many of us for decades keeping an eye on things, and efforts put forth now are opening ur eyes to what we wanted to know more about. I thank you all for your strength, endurance and courage to stay steadfast in who you are and come forth now more than ever to make effort for it to become known. I am so proud to be one of your sisters even though not FN. No matter to me, as others have said, we are ONE. Humanity as a whole can benefit from that very simple understanding, and then look at how we can and will soar. It is inevitable! Time has come! I with Occupy, You with Idle No More, and anyone else with what ever it is they identify with in order to bring about positive change, we are all doing this together. Please do approach Occupy Canada: and all of your local Occupy movement people. We all share this want for democracy, and right for and by the people. Occupy is not dead, and we can and have been sharing your cause as soon as you activated. We are here for you, and let us know what else we can do other than attend your protests/demonstrations, for many of us will come and stand by you. We are all looking for similar changes. Together we can make higher numbers.

      Together we can encourage more of our surrounding persons to hear something that may catch their attention aside from their glorious life they are encountering while shit is hitting the fan without their comprehension or awareness. This is a timely thing. Not so much an action but an event that has been taking place for a long time that has tainted and made ill of the care for both humanity and the planet. I have always trusted my FN people/friends to stay string on their hold for what is right, and I will give my ALL to support this time of standing up and going forward to make the change that they were ordained with holding for all of us, and then gaining the ultimate respect they/YOU have so ling been denied.

      I may be an odd singular ally, but let me assure you all, I am a powerful one, and can and will influence education to the colonialistish (made up that word) ones as est I can while I learn so much more from you. This blog is amazing! And it is so timely.


      There is so much information here and in a nutshell it is exactly what you want Canadians to know, so run with it. Charge $0.99 each download and develop a fund from that to fund some expenses.

      This information as you are wording it and living it is astounding. I know it would/could benefit you all by sharing this beyond this blog and making an “ebook” of it. Hear me please…. this is all good stuff. Can someone edit and make it an ebook? I could do that and be proud to do so, but my life for a few weeks is socked, and that makes it too late. This needs to be edited and set out NOW!!! The posts herein are priceless and so educational in itself. Post it, book it, sell it for some recoup for expenses, or make it free so that more will download it and your message get across. Discuss and decide, but take this archive. It is invaluable. I say that because of what I personally learned from reading this. Fund raiser for those that need some bucks. I would head this up, but my life cannot give it the immediate attention it needs. Can someone do this? Do you all think it is cool? I do, as I learned so much in one day that could have taken me years…. You all need all of this commentary message to get out there. It is absolutely wonderful and so heart felt and natural. This is NOT propaganda, it is real, and Idle No More, Voices from within, is an innocent discussion while trying to figure out who is Canada, and who is feeling what is real and wanting to learn more and/or do something about it. I have nothing but deep heart givings for all my relations, and hope I can somehow help.

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  82. Peter says:

    Edit: Unfortunately you are apparently the holder of some racist beliefs. You are not welcome here, and I seriously hope you listen more and talk less from now on.

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  87. Al says:

    Thank you, original writer and commenters, for teaching me so much. I came with my parents to live in Plains Cree land when I was small but am still slowly learning about the history of the place and its people. What has been really eye-opening in this discussion for me has been the reminder that ‘nation’ and ‘nation-state’ are not the same. This is a big blind spot in most education (and now that I teach university, one that I am sure I perpetuate as well, unthinkingly). Behind this confusion is also an enormous amount of racisim. Otherwise, how would it be possible for a government to simply renege on a treaty, over and over? Governments sign treaties all the time – and they are for mutual benefit, as was explained above. It would be unthinkable for a government to break as many promises as the colonial government has broken in its agreements with the other nations. We need to educate the government that this is irresponsible politics!

    I am myself the product of a racist society and education system. So I am grateful for the chance I have been given here to learn, and to hopefully make some positive change.

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  89. Hi all. Seeing suggestions for alternative media where First Nations need to be heard, I’m reminded of James Corbett (a former Albertan now living in Japan) at The Corbett Report:

    He’s stopping with his radio broadcasting to concentrate on his other work, including with Boiling Frogs (US) and Global Research (Montreal).

    I think James is open to expanding his coverage of Canadian issues, and first amongst them are First Peoples.

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  91. What the world needs is a Resource Based Economy where everyone owns everything together, and we end pollution etc.:

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  93. Hello! I was wondering about trying to find information to help quell down the myth all chiefs are corrupt. Dealing with other issues with others is not as hard anymore thanks to you and Chelsea Vowel. I just want to give them a number at least or a link and say “HERE, this are the numbers please understand its a perpetuated myth to back the idea that we “cannot take care of ourselves”. Though First Nations laws and confederacies have been around for quite longer then Canada lol.

  94. tasha says:

    Hi Chelsea/ apihtawikosisan,

    Thanks for your posts. For years, whenever I’ve driven past the reserve lands in Brantford, have felt so guilty for what we took from you and have never given back. “What can I give you?…I will give you my heart.” I was becoming very discouraged about the whole FN situation some months ago, but was given to continue to pray as I have in the past, that justice would prevail. In Idle No More, I feel those prayers are being answered; especially the prayer that your people will receive the patience needed to continue in your chosen way of dignified, peaceful protest and reasoned dialogue. You are a very long-suffering people; and that in the face of such horrible abuse as has taken place in the past, and continues to take place! I love your people with all my heart…such a beautiful example for Canada. Hope that the ‘mighty will be cast down from their seats’, and the humble ones exalted…that we may one day be all bound together in love…Just want to encourage you to retain your dignity and the moral ‘high road’ you’ve chosen…love you, pray for you, wish you God’s richest, richest blessings…

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  99. Margie says:

    ‘Idle No More’ states “Some of the poorest First Nations communities (such as Attawapiskat) have mines or other developments on their land but do not get a share of the profit.” I’ve read that DeBeers has paid an estimated 10 million dollars directly to the Attawapiskat Nation and 325 million on contracts to wholly-owned Attawapiskat businesses or joint ventures.Why is this money not viewed as being a share of the profit?

  100. Morningstar Mercredi says:

    My rant and expression of gratitude for Idle No More today…

    Peter Mansbridge interview with AFN National Chief Atleo on CBC National News, January 3, 2013, regarding Chiefs Spence hunger strike and her position on the impending meeting Jaunary 24th, 2013, was a total miss on the REAL issue.

    Bill C45.

    Peter Mansbridge, quote, “Seems like the a bit of disconnect…” Apparently referring to AFN Chief Atleo and Chief Spence, and Idle No More. AFN Chief Atleo, quote, “Its been 24 days, its time to stop…”

    Although AFN Chief Atleo did manage to refer to what are arguably ongoing issues of First nations, voiced over decades, issues of viable concerns, such as education, housing, sharing of resources etc…all fair and warranted however neither Peter Mansbridge nor AFN Chief Atleo once referred to what Idle No More is responding to by virtue of a REVOLUTION.

    Bill C45!

    Talk about missing the boat!

    Idle No More was created by women concerned about these crucial and extremely damaging Bills being passed as I write this!

    Bill C45.

    Mansbridge seemed intent on addressing disconnect, meanwhile AFN National Chief Atleo literally voiced his opinion of Chief Spence hunger strike with, “…its been 24 days…its time to stop…” Diminishing her conviction to take a stand in the manner in which she has chosen as her Constitutional right.

    Mansbridge goes on to undermined Chief Spence while making AFN Chief Atleo appear foolish when Mansbridge asked, “But do you agree with her stragedy…”

    Who cares if AFN National Chief agrees with her stragedy!

    Why isn’t Peter Mansbridge speaking to Bill C45 as a concerned citizen? Is he not aware of the implications of these Bills? Oh right, CBC is Corporate owned. Okay. I get it.

    If I was your average uninformed citizen watching this, I would be left with the compelling diversion from the REAL ISSUE, Bill C45! And my focus would be on the “…dissconnect…” meanwhile Bill C45 isn’t even so much as referred to!

    Why is AFN National Chief disputing Chief Spencer’s hunger strike? There was also a comment from a man, unknown, “fasting, political fasting is not good…”

    Oh, and of course, AFN National Chiefs “urgent letter of invitation to meet with the Prime Minister and Governor General January 24, 2012 and the Chiefs of the AFN.

    To which a representative of Chief Spence stated, “that is not sufficient, that is three weeks away,,,there is an urgency to this, there is lives on the line, lets meet in the very near future…”

    Thank goodness someone referred to the ‘lives on the line…’ as Chief Spence representatives did. I can only hope he is referring not only to Chief Spence but the additional lives of those who are also fasting, and have been from the onset, along with Chief Spence.

    The dropped opinions throughout these interviews clearly undermine Chiefs Spence efforts, as well as Idle No More “…escalating protests…”

    Idle No More is about revolting to Bill C45! SO YES, we are escalating!

    Idle No More is a grassroots REVOLUTION!

    A movement that is now GLOBAL and continually growing, meanwhile, AFN National Chief Atleo’s and his continual attempts to address ‘issues’ which Idle No More has effectively brought to the attention of the WORLD in a mere matter of weeks leaves me to wonder why he didn’t acknowledge the progress Idle No More is making by bringing these issues he refers to the forefront on a global level. And why is Mansbridge referring to disconnect?

    I listened and waited for anyone interviewed to address Bill C45 and was disappointed, sadly so as I watched CBC National News efforts to paint a picture of ‘disconnect’. Keeping in mind the editing process of interviews for news clips, if Bill C45 was ever mentioned, it obviously ended up on the cutting room floor, conveniently so, also bearing in mind, CBC is Corporate owned and no doubt influenced by Harpers office.

    Let me just say this.

    Idle No More is bringing attention to ALL the issues AND revolting against Bill C45.

    This interview with AFN National Chief Atleo could have been an opportunity to address Bill C45, if Atleo even referred to Bill C45!

    As for Mansbridge’s reference to ‘disconnect’, this is clearly Corporate’s contrived attempt at painting a picture of division amongst AFN, Idle No More, and Chief Spence.

    Like I said, if I was uninformed about the Bill C45 I would be left with, huh?

    Idle No More MADE media pay attention!

    Idle No More is grassroots, the people, all people involved MADE media pay attention so keep it up! And go hard because left to Mansbridge, CBC’s Corporate spokesman, and others I would venture to imply as needing to ride on the coat tail of Idle No More without even mentioning Idle No Mores progress made in addressing several iisues by virtue of the voices of the people.

    SO how do we move forward? Keep drumming, singing, round dancing and invite the WORLD to witness this REVOLUTION…and we will continue to address what these interviews are missing.

    Such as Bill C45 being passed!!

    Get loud, be proud, and stand strong, stronger than ever because now Prime Minister Harper has another allie, CBC National News platform, set up to misinform the public and neglect the cause for concern, Bill C45.

    A concern that we must bring across louder now more than ever.

    Just saying…albeit, as politically correct as my numb mind can write, as I ask myself, “How is it that the point was missed completely? Bill C45 is the point!”

    Believe me, Idle No More is bringing to light several issues and real issues at that, however, the focal concern which created Idle No More is Bill C45 so lets NOT allow that point to be missed by political agenda’s on all fronts. These ‘other’ and very ‘real’ issues are also being brought to the forefront by virtue of Idle No More’s presence, and this presence is the people, all people involved who want to stop Bill C45.

    The grassroots are the spirit of Idle No More, the power is within the people, all people, Bill C45 is everyones issue.

    Think water.

    This is what it comes down to, Water. And lack of water if we allow Bill C45 to pass and we, the people, have the power to stop Bill C45. We must. We will. We will not surrender!

    So I’ve calmed somewhat with my rant of undying concern, the point is Bill C45 and low, ALL issues being brought out since Idle No More Revolution and the people made it so!

    The power is with the people and the people are you and I, so lets continue to do what we do best, get louder and stand prouder, we’ve earned it, thanks to Idle No More and the women who created Idle No More, and then the grassroots people breathed life into Idle No More by drumming, singing, speaking, and defending land and water, so to all people in alliance and in solidarity with Idle No More, continue to make a stand! Louder now more than ever!

    All my relations! (A genuine expression intended to be inclusive of ALL people)

    • With all due respect, I disagree that Idle No More is in the main about Bill C-45. Not any more. The four women who started giving teach ins about the Bill were also speaking to a host of other bills that have implications for indigenous rights, and these bills all have their root in a colonial relationship that has been the source of much conflict over the years. Bill C-45 is the tip of the iceberg for most people involved in Idle No More. In fact a lot of work was done at the beginning to ensure that media and the wider public became aware that this is about much more than opposition to single Bill.

      We do still need to challenge this law, which passed through the Senate on December 14th after which it received royal assent.

      • Morningstar Mercredi says:

        Thank you for the clarification…all the bills certainly need to be addressed. And there are several more issues. Idle No More is about several critical issues and concerns that will not be allowed to remain dormant anymore and that was the point… (I was tired when I wrote the above and ticked off that an opportunity to speak to what is really going on was completely missed by the media, although I shouldn’t have been surprised)

    • Never forget that Mansbridge is a member of the Bilderberg group of ‘masters (and a very few mistresses) of the universe’ whose job in that capacity is to manage what people think they think.

      And what the middle-class types who largely watch CBC think and how they talk to their family, friends, and co-workers, really matters to those who really run things. The middle-class (not the working-class) is the centre of gravity for the hegemony by which the ruling class dominates everyone.

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  103. redwill83 says:

    The same happens in the states. “FREE” doesn’t mean squat if it comes in the form of low-cost, lower quality “benefits”. It isn’t a damn benefit. It should be a right! Just because we weren’t directly shown the horrors of genocide doesn’t mean just simply forget and “move on”. We have honor and a sacred duty to this land and our families who died defending it. Most Americans just see petty acres of barren land….we Natives see limitless resources and a beauty that is only comparable to heaven itself.

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  118. This should be of interest for those aware of the genocidal affects of drugs on First Nations. Read and learn!

  119. I would suggest that âpihtawikosisân lay out her plans for the quality of life of natives along with all the natural resources and manpower, that is labour, and I do mean ALL, that is required for that quality of life and then ask herself if natives and natives alone can fulfill that plan for it is one thing to lay claim to treatied land and quite another lay claim to another’s labour.

    I am almost sure that many a leader, be they of natives or any other would agree that a world of free men, free women, free children, free families, free communities, is a better world for all people.

    In so much as âpihtawikosisân and ‘the natives’ are willing to move along the lines of freedom and prosperity for all people, save those who oppress and insist on oppressing, so shall âpihtawikosisân and the natives have the support of all those who move likewise.

    And I do mean all.

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