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Dr. Pamela Palmater


Why we are Idle No More

Why we are Idle No More

Dave Chidley/The Canadian Press

Photograph by: Dave Chidley , THE CANADIAN PRESS

The Idle No More movement, which has swept the country over the holidays, took most Canadians, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his Conservative government, by surprise.
That is not to say that Canadians have never seen a native protest before, as most of us recall Oka, Burnt Church and Ipperwash. But most Canadians are not used to the kind of sustained, co-ordinated, national effort that we have seen in the last few weeks — at least not since 1969. 1969 was the last time the federal government put forward an assimilation plan for First Nations. It was defeated then by fierce native opposition, and it looks like Harper’s aggressive legislative assimilation plan will be met with even fiercer resistance.
In order to understand what this movement is about, it is necessary to understand how our history is connected to the present-day situation of First Nations. While a great many injustices were inflicted upon the indigenous peoples in the name of colonization, indigenous peoples were never “conquered.” The creation of Canada was only possible through the negotiation of treaties between the Crown and indigenous nations...READ MORE

Read more:

Pamela Palmater Crown-Indigenous Relations in Canada: Where do WE Start the

Dr. Pamela D. Palmater is a Mi'kmaw citizen and member of the Eel River Bar First Nation in northern New Brunswick. She is a mother of two boys, Mitchell and Jeremy ages 20 and 18 and comes from a large family of 8 sisters and 3 brothers. She has been a practicing lawyer for 14 years and she holds the position of Associate Professor and Chair in Indigenous Governance in the Department of Politics and Public Administration, and heads the Centre for Indigenous Govern
ance at Ryerson University.

She completed her Doctorate in the Science of Law (JSD) in Aboriginal Law at Dalhousie University Law School in 2009. In addition, she holds a Master of Laws (LLM) in Aboriginal Law, a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) with an award in environmental and natural resources law, and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) with a double major in Native Studies and History. Her Masters thesis focused on the Aboriginal and treaty right to cross the Canada-US border, while her doctoral thesis focused on the Indian Act's registration and band membership provisions.

Pam has been working and volunteering in the area of First Nations issues for over 25 years. She has diverse experience working with a wide range of social and legal issues facing First Nations, like off-reserve First Nation housing, child and family services, as well as treaty rights, education and legislation impacting First Nations. She has worked with both individual First Nations and First Nations organizations delivering information sessions, training and related presentations. As a result, she has been nominated for several prestigious awards, and most recently awarded the 2012 YWCA Woman of Distinction Award in Social Justice.

She also has diverse professional experience which has given her critical insight into law and policy impacting First Nations. She has worked as a senior Director at Indian and Northern Affairs Canada in the areas of treaties, land claims and self-government and as legal counsel at Justice Canada on First Nation issues. She has also worked as an investigator at the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission dealing with human rights complaints. This legal experience has given her a unique insight into federal and provincial policy development, mandates, priorities and strategies with regards to First Nations. She recently ran in the election for National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

Pam's area of expertise is in Indigenous law, politics, and governance. She has been researching and writing on issues impacting First Nations governance. Her book, Beyond Blood: Rethinking Indigenous Identity, considers the legal, political and social problems of federal-imposed Indian registration with regards to band membership and self-government citizenship. She has also published in the areas of Aboriginal and treaty rights, legislation and law-making, First Nation education, poverty and politics. Her most recent contribution was the report entitled: Our Children, Our Future, Our Vision: First Nation Jurisdiction over First Nation Education for the Chiefs of Ontario in response to the National Panel on Education.

Pam also engages with Canadian society on these issues by speaking and delivering training sessions to unions, churches, universities, high schools, governments and businesses with a view to educating the public about the historical context and facts behind the inaccurate myths and stereotypes impacting First Nation and Canadian relations. She is known for her focus on fact-based discussions and debate and acts as a frequent political commentator for APTN National News, InFocus, CTV, CBC and other media outlets.

For further information about Pam, please consult her website:


*NOTE - At 35:35 minutes, where Pamela Palmater says "Bruce Carson, Stephen Harper and all of his other friends decided to form a water company... still ongoing", she left out a few words in error and meant to say "Bruce Carson and friends of Stephen Harper's government allegedly decided to form a water company... but the investigation is still ongoing". See various media reports for more detailed information, like "Ex-Harper adviser Bruce Carson charged with influence peddling" (July 27, 2012) online:

This event was brought to you by the Graduate Students' Association, Centre for Aboriginal Culture and Education & Aboriginal Service Centre, at Carleton University.

Idle No More - Alberta

Sunday, December 2, 2012  from 11:00am until 3:00pm

Come and learn about the Harper Government's legislative attack on First Nations peoples lands, aboriginal and treaty rights.

There are Bills that are well on their way to becoming law by the end of this year, and others that are making their way through the process. 

You need to be aware of what it is you are facing as the changes will have such a profound effect on you, your children and your grandchildren. Consideration needs to be given on what actions we will take to stop this legislative attack. 

We cannot be silent - silence is considered consent and they do not have our consent in matters that involve the generations to come.

The date is SUNDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2012.

Location: LOUIS BULL RECREATION BUILDING (follow the signs that direct you to the Administration Building as the Recreation Building is adjacent to it).


11:00 am: 
Pipe Ceremony, Elder Harvey Rain

12:15 pm
Welcoming and Opening Remarks
Prayer, Grade 5 Students from Kisipatnahk School
Song, Jason Zorthian, Thunderchild Cree Nation
Welcoming from Chief Rusty Threefingers, Louis Bull Tribe

1. History of the White Paper and the Red Paper
Tanya Kappo, J.D
Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, Treaty 8

2. Update and Information on each piece of federal legislation 
that is being passed right now or on its way to being 
Dr. Pamela Palmater
Mi'kmaw citizen and member of Eel River Bar First Nation

3. Speakers: 

Sylvia McAdam,B.H.J, L.L.B.
Whitefish Lake Reserve Lands, #118
"Nehiyaw weyeswewna (Cree Laws) - Revitalizing Okicitaw 
Iskwewak as Part of the Treaty Understanding.

Janice A. Makokis, B.A., M.A (IGOV), L.L.B
Saddle Lake Cree Nation 
"International Avenues of Asserting Nationhood: United 
Nations and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights 
of Indigenous Peoples"

5. Closing
Prayer, Elder
Song, Bear Nation Singers: 10 year old Zade Smallboy- 
Zorthian and 11 year old Tiran Smallboy-Zorthian, 
Ermineskin Cree Nation

Keep watching this page for updates on the agenda.

Powerpoint Notes to go along with Dr. Pamela Palmater's speech:
Harper's Legislative Agenda

  • Idle No More Alberta - Dr. Pamela Palmater (Part 1-4)

Idle No More Alberta - Dr. Pamela Palmater (Part 2)

Idle No More Alberta - Dr. Pamela Palmater (Part 3)

Idle No More Alberta - Dr. Pamela Palmater (Part 4)

Written Breakdown of what Dr. Palmater spoke about in the YouTube videos presented above.  Please feel free to download and print.

Idle No More Bill Breakdown

Additional Reads:


  1. Thanks so much for this ladies, it explains a lot...

  2. I would like to gave thanks for Creator for sending to you the gifts that the grandmothers and grandfathers have given to you.
    As you are fullfilling the true role as a First Nations are an example of how our women, grandmothers were before contact...they knew and understood the great law, they shared awareness, understood what was needed for the people, they had the knowledge of medicines, mother earth, and the wisdom to direct the men for the protection of the land, women and children.
    You have demonstrated the strength of truth using the gift of your wonderful and powerful but calm voice...Just like the grandmothers would have talked....I am grateful that I get to be here at this time in creation... to see, hear, and feel the prophecy I heard 30 some years ago. I am an educator of our wonderful and beautiful teachings.....Meegwetch/Yaw^wago/Thank you Creator for sending you here in this life time...I continue to ask creator , grandmothers, and grandfathers to surround you with love, light and healing to continue to FEED THE LIGHT OF CREATION.
    Nistitangekwe(understanding women) Liz Akiwenzie


  4. Here is some additional read done by a educator on the west coast:


Thank you for your comment and please help spread the word, the time is NOW!