The mainstream media speculates that IdleNoMore, the movement for indigenous sovereignty and environmental justice that swept across Canada in recent months has petered out. The Harper Conservatives in Ottawa desperately hope that it has, but the truth is more complicated. Like waves breaking on a shore, the IdleNoMore movement has receded for the moment, gathering power for the next wave that will break onto the shore of Canadian consciousness and politics.
Thomas King, author and professor of english and theatre studies at the University of Guelph, wrote and directed a video, Not The Indian You Had In Mind, that challenges stereotypes of First Nations people, and helps explain the roots of IdleNoMore, and why it will be back. Here’s a clip from the video. Follow the link below to watch the full 5 minute video on the National Screen Institute of Canada’s website.
Meanwhile Chief Theresa Spence has not been idle since she ended her 45 day fast on January 23rd. This week at the 82nd Session of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) in Geneva Switzerland, the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and the Mushkegowuk People of Attawapiskat First Nation in Canada filed an “Early Warning and Urgent Action” request. The request is in response to the majority government of Stephen Harper’s Bills C-45 and C-38, as well as the on-going issues of lack of adequate housing and safe drinking water in indigenous communities across Canada.
Indigenous Peoples, the Canadian government and the world will be paying close attention to the CERD’s consideration of a submission from the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) and the Mushkegowuk People of Attawapiskat First Nation in Canada filed last week under the CERD’s Early Warning and Urgent Action Procedures,” IITC said in a statement, alleging that the bills—passed in June and December 2012—were put through without aboriginal consultation. The two bills, opponents claim, gut key environmental protections, in essence abrogating treaty rights. Bill C-45, by changing the way aboriginals can own land on reserves, also undermines treaties, opponents say.
Ron Lameman of Beaver Lake First Nations stated:
The world needs to know of the total disregard shown by this government toward the Indigenous Peoples of this part of great Turtle Island. When you disregard the sacred Treaties and continue to disrespect our Mother Earth and all of creation, including the sacred water which sustains all life on the planet, there is no way that Indigenous Peoples can stand back and do nothing.
Read more about this story on Indian Country Today Media Network and on NationTalk.ca. On CBC.ca, check out Paul Martin Says Ottawa Has “No Understanding” Of Native Issues.