Saturday, December 29, 2012

Idle No More

As we move through this busy season a movement amongst First Nations peoples has been growing, although with scant media coverage. It is called Idle No More and it seems to be gaining impetus amongst young, dissatisfied aboriginal people who are angry that several years after the Canadian government apologized to First Nations for the residential schools and other wrongs so little has changed. The protest is also aimed at the omnibus budget Bill C-45 that eliminates federally protected waterways and facilitates the sale of reserve lands without consultation. Bill C-45 is, to my mind, anti-democratic, lumping all manner of legislation into one bill so that it is easier for the government to push through

A chief is on a hunger strike, protests are springing up across the country, and some are wondering if this will be the winter of First Nations discontent.

As a denomination which has also issued a couple of apologies to First Nations through the years  I hope we will encourage our members to pay attention to what is unfolding. Our attention has been diverted over Christmas, but it is time to "listen up."

Are you aware of what is happening with Idle No More? Should the United Church express its solidarity?


IanD said...

I think there are a couple of interesting things happening here.

The first is an element of generational change. Empowered by social media, and quite likely the "Occupy" movement of last/this year, a new generation of Native Canadian is finding her voice over equality issues and - more importantly - learning how to get it heard.

Secondly, there's an organizational element to this protest that has (at least to my eyes) been lacking in others in the past. Whereas protests like Oka or Caledonia have been standoffs, this protest seems more wide-ranging, articulate and persistent.

Finally, the hunger strike at the center of this story is ensuring that the issue(s) carries the weight of something substantial (ie - someone's life) hanging in the balance. This overarching framework of time ticking (evoking a bomb, in many ways) is what holds all of the other elements in place.

Fascinating times for Canadians. Here's hoping it can lead to real change instead of another football kicked down the road.

willowjakmom said...

Well said, Ian!