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Sunday, December 9, 2012

BACKGROUNDER

“IDLE NO MORE”

(December 10, 2012) 

Less than three weeks ago, 4 women from Saskatchewan (Indigenous and non Indigenous) decided that they 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. Together, Sylvia McAdam, Jess Gordon, Nina Wilson and Sheelah Mclean started organizing ‘teach-ins’ in Saskatoon, Regina and Prince Albert to start bringing awareness to Bill C 45 Says McAdam, 

“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.” 

The Bill brings forward changes specifically to the Indian Act that will lower the threshold of community consent in the designation and surrender process of Indian Reserve Lands.  McLean reminds that bill is about everyone.  She says “the changes they are making to the environmental legislation is stunning in terms of the protections it will take away from the bodies of water – rivers and lakes, across the country".  She further adds, “ how can we not all be concerned about that?” 

The Idle No More efforts then continued in Alberta with an information meeting held at the Louis Bull Cree Nation.  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.  Kappo says, “the people in our communities had absolutely no idea what we were facing, no idea what plans Stephen Harper had in store for us.”  The events leading up to the National Day of Action have been focused on bringing awareness to people in First Nations communities and the rest of Canada.  Jess Gordon says, “The essence of the work we are doing and have been doing will remain a grassroots effort, and will continue to give a forum to the voices of our people.” 

When Bill C45 was brought to the House of Commons for a vote, First Nations leaders demonstrated that they are hearing these voices loud and clear.  They joined the efforts against Bill C 45 and went to Parliament Hill where they were invited into the House of Commons by the New Democratic Party.  However, they were refused entry.  This refusal to allow First Nations leadership to respectfully enter the House of Commons triggered an even greater mobilization of First Nation people across the country.  Nina Wilson says, “what we saw on Parliament Hill was a true reflection of what the outright disregard the Harper Government has towards First Nation people.”  

The passage of Bill C45, Idle No More has come to symbolize and be the platform to voice the refusal of First Nations people to be ignored any further by any other Canadian government. 

The National Day of Action for Idle No More will mark the point in history when the generations and centuries of the refusal to acknowledge the relationship stops. 

Janice Makokis contributes her energies towards the Idle No More efforts and says, “We continue to honour our traditional ways and our ancestors and always begin our efforts in that spirit.”  People across the country have mobilized in that same spirit and have taken it upon themselves to create the space for their own voices. 

On Monday, December 10... First Nations people and their allies will stand in solidarity across the country in more than 13 locations: Vancouver, Whitehorse, Calgary, Edmonton, Stand Off, Saskatoon, North Battleford, Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Toronto and Goose Bay-Happy Valley.

Other legislation on its way through the legislative process that will directly affect First Nation people:

  • Bill C-27 First Nations Financial Transparency Act
  • Bill S-2 Family Homes on Reserve and Matrimonial Interests or Right Act
  • Bill S-6 First Nations Elections Act
  • Bill S-8 Safe Drinking Water for First Nations
  • Bill C-428 Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act
  • Bill S-207 An Act to amend the Interpretation Act
  • Bill S-212 First Nations Self-Government Recognition Bill and the “First Nations” Private Ownership Act
www.idlenomore.ca

Facebook Group Page: Idle No More Community

Thank you to Tanya Cappo for composing Backgrounder

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