THUNDER BAY – The federal government is moving forward with proposed changes to legislation that will impact First Nations people across Canada. December 10th is being marked as a start of protests against that legislation. Today in Thunder Bay Aboriginal people are planning a protest rally at the local INAC office starting at 10AM.
Under the title of ‘Idle no more’ the rally is according to organizers “A peaceful call to action requesting acts of solidarity against government and industry actions that use legislation and disregard free, prior and informed consent to further their agendas in the name of profit and progress disregarding the natural law to live as one with Mother Earth”.
The rally is not limited to Thunder Bay it is a national call for action as December 10th marks the international day for Human Rights.
The group states, “Idle No More is requesting that all our relations take part in a peaceful demonstration of solidarity. As we all know the government and numerous corporations have been overriding and ignoring our basic human rights through policies, legislation and industry activities for profit. The government and industries have been failing to implement the United Nations Declaration Rights of Indigenous People. They have also been ignoring and pacifying the need to be responsible and live as one with Mother Earth”.
Under what is being called a National Day of Action and Solidarity, First Nations and their supporters have organized more than 13 nation-wide rallies for Monday (December 10) to express opposition the legislation the Harper Government has put forward in Bill C-45 and other bills.
The movement, under the banner “Idle No More” (#IdleNoMore) emerged within the grassroots less than four weeks ago in Saskatchewan. It began as an effort to educate First Nations people on the multitude of legislation being put forward by the Harper government that they feel is a direct attack on the rights of First Nations. The organizers Sylvia McAdam, Jess Gordon, Nina Wilson and Sheelah Mclean began by organizing “teach-ins” to inform people.
On Dec. 2, when another Idle No More session was called in Alberta, more than 150 people drove into Louis Bull First Nation on a Sunday to hear what the presenters had to say. The organizer for that event, Tanya Kappo, took to Twitter and Facebook to help generate awareness on the matter as the passage of Bill C45 was imminent. Says Kappo, “the people in our communities had absolutely no idea what we were facing, no idea what plans Stephen Harper had in store for us.” Sylvia McAdam, one of the organizers of the original Saskatchewan events stated, “We are not really surprised by the amount of support coming spontaneously from the grassroots and from the Chiefs, because we knew we could no longer stay silent in the face of what is a legislative attack on First Nation people and the lands and waters across the country.”
McAdam said, “Bill C 45 is not just about a budget, it is a direct attack on First Nations lands and on the bodies of water we all share from across this country.”
“We as a collective must do what we as individuals feel is the best way to show the government and corporations that we will no longer be silent and apathetic to their activities. We are now suggesting to our relatives throughout Turtle Island to attend the government buildings (offices of MP’s, MLA’s, legislative buildings) as well as industry corporate offices to demonstrate that we do not agree with their practices”.
If the movement grows, and recent efforts, especially by First Nations youth are showing growing ability to get their word out to the world as demonstrated by Shannen’s Dream, then the Harper government may have awoken a real sleeping giant.