[ View the story "First Nations #IdleNoMore on day of action" on Storify] First Nations #IdleNoMore on day of action Canada witnesses protests across the country in support of indigenous rights.
The Stream· Fri, Dec 21 2012 14:30:20
Friday's scene in front of the parliament building in Ottawa:
Photo from an #IdleNoMore protest in Saskatchewan province:
Video from a similar protest in Winnipeg:
Many First Nations activists have taken to
and occupying commercial centres throughout Canada. In the video below, protesters fill a shopping mall in Saskatchewan province:
Idle no more Saskatoon!dkb524
You know the power of #IdleNoMore when the streets of downtown Toronto are shut downJamie Warren
Part of the protests includes a hunger strike by Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence. Spence, who has been fasting since December 11, is requesting a meeting with Canadian leaders, including the prime minister, to discuss poverty in First Nations communities. In 2011, she
declared a state of emergency
over her reserve's living conditions. Below, Spence speaks about her hunger strike with the Canadian news network CBC. When asked what it would take to end her protest, she responded, "It’s a simple thing I am asking. It’s a meeting. A dialogue."
Chief Spence exclusive interview CBC December 18, 2012msbeautifulred
Throughout the day, many First Nations members documented the protests via social media:
My kids are marching, their kids are marching, I've never seen anything like this in my life: Dakota FN elder. #idlenomorechristopher curtis
Many online criticised what they saw as a media blackout on the protests.
I'm sorry, #Canada, but why is #ChiefTheresaSpence not front page news? Why is this something we're not talking about? #IdleNoMore #cdnpoliMatthew Barlow
@derrickokeefe wrote a
December 12 blog post
calling the Canadian mainstream media's lack of coverage "shameful":
I've come to expect little or no coverage of social justice movements by Canada's mainstream media.On the mainstream media's shameful failure to cover #IdleNoMore | rabble.ca
There was no coverage, not even a passing reference, to the more than a dozen rallies across the country the day before, or to the fact that Attawapiskat's Chief Theresa Spence -- who had been at the centre of an international media sensation a year ago focused on poverty and poor housing -- had started an indefinite hunger strike in coordination with a Canada-wide movement for Indigenous rights.On the mainstream media's shameful failure to cover #IdleNoMore | rabble.ca
Others directed their criticism at Prime Minister Stephen Harper (@pmharper), who has yet to comment on the protests or accept Chief Spence's call for dialogue.
Hate having ur roads blocked? Support #idlenomore - Force @pmharper to negotiate in good faith. It would be his first time. #cdnpoliProtect Civilians
A #FirstNations chief has been on hunger strike for 10 days, community in despair, & @PMHarper is tweeting about chinchillas. #idlenomoreKulpreet Singh
Still hoping for a Grinch-style, heart-growing epiphany where @pmharper goes and talks to hunger-striking #TheresaSpence like a human being.Charles Demers
Canada's indigenous peoples conduct their relations with the Canadian government on the basis of a "nation-to-nation" treaty. But indigenous leaders say their agreements with the government have often been ignored.
The nationwide protests Friday drew more media coverage, but the bulk of the conversation was online. So far, the #IdleNoMore hashtag has been used almost
. It also drew support from the hacker collective Anonymous.
Be sure to keep up with & support #IdleNoMore, indiegnous peoples in Canada are rising up en masse against centuries of colonial oppression!Anonymous
An #IdleNoMore flashmob dance at an Edmonton mall gained 37,000 views in two days:
Idle No More - Round Dance Flash Mob at WEM in Edmontonmixedblessing
Solidarity protests came from countries around the world, including Egypt, Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
Idle No More protest in Egypt. EGYPT. They are protesting our government in EGYPT. Doesn't that say something? #cdnpoliNorlaine Thomas
Idle No More from Ukraine:
via @youtube #idlenomore - brought a tear to my eyes to see the love and support from afar!!Diana Day
Idle No More London is gathered here today to resist the expansionist and assimilation plans of the Canadian government. In lands that have been colonised the fastest and sharpest way to significantly change everyone's life is by further undermining the First Nations cultures, laws, family relations, land and waters.<br> <br> We are gathered here - within ear shot of the Crown's London residence - to ackn...owledge the ongoing relationship between colonialism and the Government of Canada's attempts to push through legislation that seeks to rip up the treaties first signed with the Crown.<br> <br> If Bill C45- (and others) are given Royal assent by the Crowns representative, this colonial, unilateral and paternalistic legislation would open the way for corporations in the oil, nuclear and gas industries to tear up First Nations land for profit.<br> <br> Idle No More London sends its solidarity to all the people taking part in actions across Canada - and the world. Idle No More calls on people to join in a revolution that honours and fulfills indigenous sovereignty that protects the land and water.See More</a>Deepa Naik
Non-indigenous Canadians also shared their thoughts on the protest movement:
If you have any respect for the land you live on, & the aboriginal / native stewards of that land, stand up & speak out. #idlenomoreKulpreet Singh
As Cdns we pride ourselves in being progressive & open-minded which is ironic given our abysmal record on human rights. Props to #idlenomoreScott McF
I live on land of the Ojibwa of Mississauga, if you live in S. Ont, there's a good chance you do too. Don't forget, support. #idlenomoreAndrew Ursel
For those of us who are settlers on this land, we must take responsibility to ensure that we are no longer idle. #idlenomore #solidarityArün Smith
Aboriginal communities must reach out and educate Canadians. We simply do not understand what is going on. #idlenomore is a great step.Luke Bradley
Others suggested solutions on how First Nations can move forward:
I just called the Prime Minister's office and my MP to ask the PM to meet with Chief Spence. Your turn:
We must implement our own laws, our old ways, as #IdleNoMore is building. Abiding by settler laws is what got us here to start with.Pygmy Sioux
Access to shelter, clean water and food are basic human rights. Govts must not stand idly by while First Nations suffer. #IdleNoMoreAndrea Horwath