Idle No More is a movement far larger than most people assume

Robert Horton Panoramic view of the Spirit Garden taken at the Idle No More Teach in in Thunder Bay on December 21st 2012.
Panoramic view of the Spirit Garden taken at the Idle No More Teach in in Thunder Bay on December 21st 2012.

Panoramic view of the Spirit Garden taken at the Idle No More Teach in in Thunder Bay on December 21st 2012.
Panoramic view of the Spirit Garden taken at the Idle No More Teach in in Thunder Bay on December 21st 2012.

THUNDER BAY – Regional – Idle No More is a movement far larger than most people assume. While many people are aware of Idle No More, they are unaware of what Idle No More is really all about.

On January 28th, Parliament will be resume business following the Christmas break. Idle No More is ramping up with actions; including teach-ins, rallies and demonstrations.

In Thunder Bay events will get underway at 4PM.

On an official level, Idle No More is focused on the environment. On local levels the goals will vary. That is to be expected, local conditions across Canada are different too.

Idle No More says: “Our Goals and objectives are to ensure that the environment is protected and our inherent right to Indigenous sovereignty is recognized as we urge the government of Canada to repeal all legislation which violates Treaties, Aboriginal inherent rights and title, and subsequently environmental protections of land and water”.

We intend to accomplish these goals by, immediately,

  • Implementing leadership  structure and councils –  Council of women
  • Taking training in; coordinating rallies, media, messaging, safety issues, identifying- provocateurs, misinformation shills, propaganda etc.
  • Placing key spokespeople and connecting with experienced experts in different areas; i.e. treaty research, Indigenous rights and governance, environmental activism, writers, international spokesperson, national etc.
  • Creating chapters across Turtle Island under umbrella of main INM.
  • Requesting regular meetings with First Nations leadership to have ongoing discussions regarding 3rd party agreements between Government of Canada and industry corporations

Idle No More says, “We, like many Canadians, are deeply concerned about the imposition of a multitude of pieces of legislation on FNs as well as Canadians that will impact our collective abilities to be self-governing, democratic and able to pursue livings and live into the future in a respectful and sustainable way on our lands. Please join us as we take to the streets to join hands to send a message to this government that these undemocratic ways of decision-making are no longer going to be tolerated”.

Idle No More – Thunder Bay

However, to talk with local residents, there are other issues. For some, simply being treated with basic respect would be a good accomplishment.

Take some of the concerns in Thunder Bay into consideration. How often do Aboriginal people get treated differently because of their race? Talk to many Aboriginal couples looking for an apartment, you will hear how they can set up an appointment to view an apartment, but when they get there, no one will open the door. One person shared being told “We only rent to people who work”, and even though he has a good paying job, didn’t even get to look.

Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy says, “The safety of our students in Ontario is paramount and we support any and all efforts to ensure their right to learn in a healthy and safe environment”.

NAN Grand Chief Harvey Yesno comments, “Students from across the North have no fear of walking at night in their home communities. This can present a danger when moving to an urban centre as students may not know to be vigilant and careful. For some students, high school is the first time they have left their home community, and therefore they do not know what to expect. If we are to target the issues of community safety and racism, we must target it everywhere in order to stop small ideas from becoming problems”.

Chief Peter Collins from Fort William First Nation commented on the issue of community safety, “A major safety concern in Thunder Bay, especially as of late, is the safety of women and children. Respect is critically important to achieving community safety, and recognizing that all citizens, regardless of race are looking for the same things for their children and family. All citizens are looking to ensure that their children are safe and secure. To achieve safety and security, the importance of building relationships cannot be understated”.

The issue is major, parents and grandparents across the North spend a lot of time worrying about their family members in our community.

Norma Kejick, the Executive Director of the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council shares, “One Tribal Council has withdrawn all of their students from Thunder Bay over safety concerns. Students have to constantly defend who they are, and some have been told that they are unwelcome at Inter-City Shopping Centre. Students are already dealing with the struggles of being a teenager, and are seeing things that many have not dealt with prior to moving to Thunder Bay”.

Idle No More and the Aboriginal leaders are both stepping up. There must be the realization on all sides that working together is a key. That continually appears to be the case, and likely Idle No More is serving as a communications portal online and in person to assist in this effort.

The issue is far larger than safety in the community, but discussions once started must be encouraged to continue.

Events are  underway in Thunder Bay at 4 pm

Map of Thunder Bay Idle No More activities Jan 28 2013.
Map of Thunder Bay Idle No More activities Jan 28 2013.

– Opening Prayer
– Welcoming Remarks
– Keynote/Guest speakers
– Statement to the Prime Minister re: imposition of legislation/concern for our environment
– Song
– March (please note, Thunder Bay Police Service will be on hand to marshall/escort our marchers for their safety)
– Return to City Hall, end with Round Dance

Idle No More Thunder Bay advises, that this event is open to everyone.

Special call for Jingle Dress dancers and hand drummers to come support this event!

Thunder Mountain Singers will lead the event with drumming.

Idle No More – Ontario Regional Chief Beardy