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Opinion: Idle No More campaign began with indigenous women

Filed Under: Canada | Opinion
More on: treaties, women

"Idle No More began with four women—Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon, and Sheelah McLean—who share a vision of uniting people to ensure the protection of Mother Earth, her lands, waters and people. We began by focusing on a piece of legislation called Bill C-45, which attacks the land base reserved for Indigenous people and removes protections for hundreds of our waterways. In November of 2012, we organized a mass teach-in at Station 20 West in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, called Idle No More. This teach-in included guest speakers, petitions again Bill C-45 of the Omnibus Bill, and discussion of our next steps. That day, we developed plans for more teach-ins, with the goal of building consciousness in a grassroots movement that will resist the impending legislation. A week later plans were in effect for teach-ins, rallies, and protests across Saskatchewan and on to Winnipeg, Manitoba and Edmonton, Alberta. The four of us supported organizers in other centers and used social media—primarily facebook ( and twitter (#idlenomore)—to build this movement. We discussed and planned a national day of action for Dec. 10th—which quickly became one of the largest Indigenous mass movements in Canadian history. Now teach-ins, rallies and protests are spreading across Canada with another goal of joining Turtle Island's Indigenous peoples and allies on Dec. 21st.

Although Idle No More (INM) is a national movement which includes thousands of people, it has not gained national media attention. However, APTN has documented many of the events, and there have been some key moments in the movement. For example, On December 4th, AFN Chiefs were urged by INM organizers to walk to Parliament Hill and protest the current legislative attacks. As well, on December 10th, Chief Theresa Spence from Attawapiskat joined the INM movement by fasting until PM Harper and a representative of the Crown meet to address the oppressive conditions for Indigenous peoples in Canada by revisiting the Treaty relationship. Many Canadians have joined Chief Spence in fasting."

Get the Story:
Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Nina Wilson and Sheelah McLean: Idle No More: Indigenous Brothers and Sisters Taking the Initiative for a Better Tomorrow (Indian Country Today 12/17)

Related Stories:
Chelsea Vowel: Native people stand up and say Idle No More (12/17)

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