SASKATOON – Editorial – Idle No More has appeared to be quiet over recent months. That is simply an illusion. Across Canada, and Northwestern Ontario the grassroots movement is continuing to gather quiet strength. In Saskatoon, on Canada Day a Flash Mob took action and were busy raising awareness.
The apparent quiet is an illusion. Across Canada, or Turtle Island, there have been many efforts underway. Some are seen, others are not. Across Northwestern Ontario, the grassroots work of education and activating new supporters has gone on without stop since the winter. The issues have not changed, and the Prime Minister appears more supportive of photo-ops than action in the minds of Idle No More supporters.
There is also a factor that is hard to see. As Idle No More quietly grows, and more people learn about their real treaty rights, there is likely to come a spark or an event that fires up the movement.
In Northwestern Ontario, Idle No More and supporters have hosted the many groups of walkers who have been headed to Ottawa. At the Fort William First Nation Pow Wow two of the groups of walkers addressed the hundreds of people who were returning from Ottawa. The reality is the people are looking for a relationship based on mutual respect.
If Idle No More in Northwestern Ontario turns its efforts to focusing on voting in the next federal and provincial elections, it is likely the impact on politics would be massive. Kenora MP Greg Rickford only gained a small handful of votes in the far north where voter turnout numbers were extremely small. The two term MP could be an easy target for a focused effort by Idle No More.
There is also, in Northwestern Ontario a growing frustration building over the numbers of young people taken from their parents and now in care by organizations like DILICO. The agency that is mandated to help families. Often however to people it impacted by addiction, the agency comes across as another strong-arm division of the government.
Some parents have relayed that young Aboriginal children play “Dilico”. In the game, one or two youth pretend to be Dilico case workers. They inspect the house, clipboard in hand. The usual response in this children’s game is “You lose your children”. It is a message from the mouths of the youth that one might think should have Dilico management examining the impact of their efforts.
For parents, the goal of re-uniting families must be paramount. There are instances where mothers have not been allowed to see their children for over two years. The damage to the families in the long term is massive. Reportedly there are currently more Aboriginal children in state care than at the height of the Resident Schools programs, or the ‘Sixties Scoop‘.
Grandparents are also being cut off from seeing their grandchildren, and in many cases it appears that red tape and bureaucratic intolerance toward grandparents is the norm rather than the exemption.
It is the actions of the past that built today’s problems. Trying to solve those problems using the exact same methodology and strategies that have put us in the current situation is not a path toward success.
Idle No More may appear quiet, but that is a massive illusion.
Politicians might be hitting the barbecue rounds this summer, Idle No More appears set to go for the summer.
Getting everyone working together could fix the problem. That ball right now in in the federal government’s hands.