Canada’s ‘Idle No More’ Movement Spreads Like Wildfire

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The ‘Idle No More’ movement, a campaign of grassroots First Nations protests, has spread like wildfire over the past week in response to bills passed by the conservative Canadian government.

Chief Theresa Spence on 14th day of hunger strike

 
First Nations protesters march towards Parliament Hill during a demonstration as part of the spreading ‘Idle No More’ movement in Ottawa, Canada, December 21, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

 
By Craig Brown
Common Dreams, December 24, 2012
 
Anger to the recently passed C-45, the Harper government omnibus budget bill, has fueled the growing movement.
 
Bil C-45 includes changes to the Canadian Indian Act regarding how reserve lands are managed, making them easier to develop and be taken away from the First Nation people.
 
The bill also removes thousands of lakes and streams from the list of federally protected bodies of water. “This is unacceptable. They have made a unilateral decision remove the protection of waterways… Shell Canada has proposed to mine out 21km of the Muskeg River, a river of cultural and biological significance. This ultimately gives the tar sands industry a green light to destroy vital waterways still used by our people,” stated Eriel Deranger, Communication Coordinator for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.
 
Atiwapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence has been on a hunger strike since December 11th, resolved to starve herself to death unless Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets to discuss treaty rights, and Canada’s relationship with its Indigenous peoples. She is currently living in a teepee on Victoria Island, in Ottawa, just a kilometer away from the Parliament buildings. So far, Harper has rejected calls to meet with Spence.
 
Chief Spence tweeted on Sunday, the 13th day of her hunger strike:
 
ChiefTheresaSpence@ChiefTheresa 
Grassroots and leaders plse keep the pressure and momentum going #idlenomore “I am still strong and will not give up!”
23 Dec 12 ReplyRetweetFavorite
 
Over the last few days Idle No More supporters took over malls and public spaces all over Canada and parts of the US with a series of flashmobs performing traditional round dances in support of the movement.
 
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Idle No More’s mission statement reads, in part:
 
On December 10th, Indigenous people and allies stood in solidarity across Canada to assert Indigenous sovereignty and begin the work towards sustainable, renewable development. All people will be affected by the continued damage to the land and water and we welcome Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies to join in creating healthy sustainable communities. We encourage youth to become engaged in this movement as you are the leaders of our future. There have always been individuals and groups who have been working towards these goals – Idle No More seeks to create solidarity and further support these goals. We recognize that there may be backlash, and encourage people to stay strong and united in spirit.
 
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Happening Now: Common Dreams’ Live Coverage
Idle No More Movement Spreads Like Wildfire
 
PEHFLA Thank you @JustinTrudeau for showing leadership and compassion by meeting with @ChiefTheresa today. #LPC #idlenomore
48 seconds ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
Dan_Radinovic @AmberLyon have u heard of #idlenomore, grassroots Native Canadian movement, @ChiefTheresa on day 15 of hunger strike. Cld u RT please.
about 1 minute ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
TrickNig “@ChiefTheresa: @JustinTrudeau will be visiting @ChiefTheresa this morning.” #cdnpoli #onpoli #IdleNoMore
about 1 minute ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
 
3 new tweets
 
northrnstarfish Hey @justinbieber thanks for being #idlenomore thelapine.ca/bieber-derps-h…
3 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
RMComedy Researching online streaming internet radio platforms. We ready to do this @culturite @rpmfm! #BuildingIndigenousMediaPlatforms #IdleNoMore
4 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
RuddKim RT @ChiefTheresa: @JustinTrudeau will be visiting @ChiefTheresa this morning.
6 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
SidRyan_OFL Thinking about the obscene consumerism today, while Chief Spence starves herself so her ppl can have drinkable water. #IdleNoMore #cdnpoli
7 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
DemocracyCanada I bow to @ChiefTheresa: as we feast, she chooses to go hungry – for her people! PLEASE meet with her, @pmharper! #cdnpoli #IdleNoMore #DAY16
8 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
waub If you’re going to the #idlenomore round dance at the Rideau Centre at noon, sing loud and dance hard! CBC will have a camera there
8 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
michaelcwheeler This is a good sign that #IdleNoMore is penetrating mainstream RT @chieftheresa: @JustinTrudeau will be visiting @ChiefTheresa this morning.
9 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
Outlaws52 RT @CSORG: @BarackObama Please put pressure on @pmharper to meet with @chieftheresa . He’s letting her starve to death! #idlenomore
10 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
kaishathompson “@ChiefTheresa: @JustinTrudeau will be visiting @ChiefTheresa this morning.” #IdleNoMore
10 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
CherishFaith “@ChiefTheresa: Guess who came to celebrate Christmas night? A big supporter. @adamruebenbeach pic.twitter.com/432hrm1Q” #IdleNoMore
11 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
kaishathompson Today as Canadians hit the mall, #IdleNoMore will bring their voices into the shopping areas. Check out the #Barrie ON protest!
11 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
gardencoachwinn #IdleNoMore #IdleNoMore #IdleNoMore #IdleNoMore #IdleNoMore #IdleNoMore #IdleNoMore #IdleNoMore #IdleNoMore #IdleNoMore @IdleNoMore4
12 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
CaraMcGregor Could someone recap me on the #idlenomore events when and where … I’d like to attend durning the Holidays!
12 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
ChiefDay @ChiefTheresa @JustinTrudeau Hopefully this visit is for “right” reasons. Humanitarian and Social Justice should supersede party politics.
13 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
deejayndn “@VirtueInTheCity:”You’ve Inspired A Nation.” A short film dedicated to Chief Spence. facebook.com/photo.php?v=10… … (3 min 54 sec)” #idlenomore
14 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
Niigaanwewidam Off to ceremonies! I’ll be #idlenomore -ing via the lodge! Miigwech gizhe manidoo!
16 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
CSORG Aboriginal Affairs Minister concerned about Theresa Spence #idlenomore huff.to/YcNjOK via @HuffPostCanada
17 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
remaerdyaD #flashmob has itself been trending ~ #idlenomore
17 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
GwitchinKris #idlenomore and up with the birds. Headed to West Edmonton Mall First Nation (WEMFN) Round Dance #Hoka
18 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
TippiStar Plz let us not forget Emil Bell & Raymond Robinson who are also on a hunger strike with chief Spence. Let their story be told #Idlenomore
20 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
snolen Good take in the Guardian on Canada’s swelling protests by First Nations people #idlenomore m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/…
20 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
Crudmaestro @GGDavidJohnston When will you meet Chief Spence? #idlenomore #chiefteresa
24 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
Nonanon_anon So @pmharper do you want Bieber’s Diamond Jubilee back? thelapine.ca/bieber-derps-h… #pwned #idlenomore #cdnpoli #lpc #ndp #gpc
26 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
mytiturk Sign #idlenomore Avaaz petition avaaz.org/en/petition/Ch…
27 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
fernhilldammit I missed this. Justin Bieber derps PMSHithead over #IdleNoMore. thelapine.ca/bieber-derps-h… #ImportantNews
29 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
NaomiAKlein Want 2 know what #IdleNoMore is all about? Don’t miss @Pam_Palmater ‘s great interview on @democracynow 2day. democracynow.org
29 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
reneelaprise @Pam_Palmater – that was a great interview on democracynow.org – I learn more every time I listen to you. #idlenomore
30 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
anardozi Previous they had very negative stereotypes of First Nations peoples. From media and others. #IdleNoMore
31 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
anardozi Spoke to two new immigrants about #IdleNoMore and history of colonial violence against First Nations. They had no idea;
32 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
cmusician January, 2012: Crown – First Nations gathering about laying the groundwork for a “partnership.” soc.li/qV6TywB #cdnpoli #IdleNoMore
35 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
ChiefDay #IdleNoMore start a twitter blitz to every MP; Senator; and the same for US Senate and House of Congress. “Harper; meet Chief Spence; today”
36 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
NatriceR @Fast4Change @marclaferriere @chieftheresa make a difference! Speak out w/your actions and your voice! As Theresa Spence is doing
37 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
CreativeCrip David Cameron & Stephen Harper ~ Crime Ministers extraordinaire #ukgov #wowpetition #cdngov #idlenomore
38 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
urbanrezlife Good Morning Community Prayers for @ChiefTheresa
41 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
gardencoachwinn @pmharper when would be a good time for you to meet @ChiefTheresa ? World is watching, waiting in solidarity with @IdleNoMore4 #IdleNoMore
44 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
ecoSanity A selected compilation bit.ly/YfLIHI in support of the mass movement 4 Indigenous sovereignty @chieftheresa #idlenomore #cdnpoli
44 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
AureliaCotta I wonder how different history would be if called native treaties “legally enforceable contracts” instead. #idlenomore #cdnpoli
44 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
JaimeWGarcia Top political story of 2012, still making headlines ow.ly/1QxOz5 #IdleNoMore #skpoli #cdnpoli cc @ChiefTheresa
45 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
cmusician E-mail Prime Minister Harper at pm@pm.gc.ca: Time to meet with FN leaders & commit to addressing longstanding issues #cdnpoli #IdleNoMore
47 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
ehjertaas Great read: Hollow talk, half-lies: how #Harper deals with #FirstNations | iPolitics ipolitics.ca/2012/12/20/hol… #cdnpoli #IdleNoMore
49 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
PMLaurier Obama’s cutting short his vacation to address a growing crisis. Your move @PMHarper. Show some courage & meet with @ChiefTheresa #idlenomore
50 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
WhoKnitYou @WhoKnitYou: You’ll meet with any other world leader, why not a First Nations leader? @pmharper shame on you. #idlenomore
53 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
Fnsolidarity Heres my stats in a week! @RMComedy: The Power of Social media #IdleNoMore #RoundDanceRevolution instagr.am/p/TsCpDWTfH8/ ow.ly/i/1isEW
56 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
IdleNoMoreNews The Natives are restless. Wondering why? bit.ly/TVZJdN #IdleNoMore
57 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
kemciver Brigette depape is an inspiration! Best gift to canada is #IdleNoMore www2.macleans.ca/2012/12/25/idl…
59 minutes ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
IndianCAN2 Welcome web visitors from Toronto and New Orleans – #idlenomore
about 1 hour ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
___Danno Harper has a heart of tar. He has no time for anything other than Big Oil, Chinese investors & celebrities like Justin Bieber #IdleNoMore
about 1 hour ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
freedomjunkie David Suzuki Foundation letter of support for Idle No More davidsuzuki.org/media/news/201… via @DavidSuzukiFDN
about 1 hour ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
Crudmaestro @pmharper, remember what (#ggi) youth in Québec did 2 your pal Jean Charest? #Idlenomore is no different. The youths don’t like corruption.
about 1 hour ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
Russell_Barth Keep in mind: .@pmharper’s supporters are as sick and evil as he. He panders to racists as he ignores .@ChiefTheresa #cdnpoli #idlenomore
about 1 hour ago · reply · retweet · favorite
 
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Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, center, sits between supporters Danny Matatawabin, left, and Angela Bercier in a teepee on Victoria Island in Ottawa during her hunger strike. (Photo; Julie Oliver, Ottawa Citizen)