(Image source: Idle No More)


BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR LOGAN TITTLE

 

A new protest movement which began in November has swept across Canada, blown up social media and even moved in the U.S.

 

Idle No More began with four indigenous Canadian women and has since grown into a First Nations Peoples movement.

 

They’re protesting Canada’s Omnibus Bill C-45, which they say makes sweeping changes to indigenous rights without any input from those affected — a violation of Canada’s treaties with First Nations.

 

Demonstrations so far have included teach-ins, flash mobs, and even blocking highways and interrupting parliament. (Video via WXMI)

 

In the weeks since the movement began, the scope has been widened to include native issues like poverty, poor education, and health problems on the reservation.

 

“They’re calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to honor treaties with aborigines, open dialogue with environmentalists and reject tar sands pipelines that would infiltrate First Nations territories.” (Video via Democracy Now!)

 

“It wasn’t just Bill C-45. There’s 14 pieces of legislation, most very specific to First Nations communities, which is designed to both assimilate us as individuals and destroy our communities.” (Video via CBC News)

 

The most prominent figure in the movement is Chief Theresa Spence, a tribal leader who is on a hunger strike until she gets to meet with Harper. She’s gone without solid food since December 11. (Video via CTV News)


The movement seems to be gaining popularity, thanks in no small part to extensive positive media coverage.

 

High-circulation newspapers like the Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail have covered the protests extensively.

 

And a Toronto Star editorial accuses the federal government of shortchanging education programs on reservations by $100 million.

 

But not everyone is convinced the federal government is the cause of indigenous peoples’ problems. A columnist for the Calgary Herald points the finger at leaders like Chief Spence.

 

She reports an investigation last year found the leaders of Spence’s band had lost track of $2.3 million dollars allocated for housing. What’s more, while average household income on the reserve is just over $11,000 a year, Spence brings in $70,000.

“You can see why Spence has some credibility issues. It’s not Harper and the federal government that is denying the natives; it’s the native leaders...”

 

But another writer for the Edmonton Journal points out, even if some band leaders are corrupt, that doesn’t explain the protest’s rapid spread.

 

“...the frustration itself must not be dismissed … it is absurd, if not out-and-out racist, to view unsympathetically the anger of the many even if poor choices by some in more influential positions have played a role in creating the status quo.”

 

There’s been no response from the Prime Minister’s office. Chief Spence declined to meet with the Aboriginal Affairs minister instead.
 

 

Idle No More: Indigenous Protests Spread Throughout Canada

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Dec 27, 2012

Idle No More: Indigenous Protests Spread Throughout Canada

(Image source: Idle No More)


BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR LOGAN TITTLE

 

A new protest movement which began in November has swept across Canada, blown up social media and even moved in the U.S.

 

Idle No More began with four indigenous Canadian women and has since grown into a First Nations Peoples movement.

 

They’re protesting Canada’s Omnibus Bill C-45, which they say makes sweeping changes to indigenous rights without any input from those affected — a violation of Canada’s treaties with First Nations.

 

Demonstrations so far have included teach-ins, flash mobs, and even blocking highways and interrupting parliament. (Video via WXMI)

 

In the weeks since the movement began, the scope has been widened to include native issues like poverty, poor education, and health problems on the reservation.

 

“They’re calling on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to honor treaties with aborigines, open dialogue with environmentalists and reject tar sands pipelines that would infiltrate First Nations territories.” (Video via Democracy Now!)

 

“It wasn’t just Bill C-45. There’s 14 pieces of legislation, most very specific to First Nations communities, which is designed to both assimilate us as individuals and destroy our communities.” (Video via CBC News)

 

The most prominent figure in the movement is Chief Theresa Spence, a tribal leader who is on a hunger strike until she gets to meet with Harper. She’s gone without solid food since December 11. (Video via CTV News)


The movement seems to be gaining popularity, thanks in no small part to extensive positive media coverage.

 

High-circulation newspapers like the Vancouver Sun and the Globe and Mail have covered the protests extensively.

 

And a Toronto Star editorial accuses the federal government of shortchanging education programs on reservations by $100 million.

 

But not everyone is convinced the federal government is the cause of indigenous peoples’ problems. A columnist for the Calgary Herald points the finger at leaders like Chief Spence.

 

She reports an investigation last year found the leaders of Spence’s band had lost track of $2.3 million dollars allocated for housing. What’s more, while average household income on the reserve is just over $11,000 a year, Spence brings in $70,000.

“You can see why Spence has some credibility issues. It’s not Harper and the federal government that is denying the natives; it’s the native leaders...”

 

But another writer for the Edmonton Journal points out, even if some band leaders are corrupt, that doesn’t explain the protest’s rapid spread.

 

“...the frustration itself must not be dismissed … it is absurd, if not out-and-out racist, to view unsympathetically the anger of the many even if poor choices by some in more influential positions have played a role in creating the status quo.”

 

There’s been no response from the Prime Minister’s office. Chief Spence declined to meet with the Aboriginal Affairs minister instead.
 

 

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