December 28th, 2012
According to an article in Indian Country Today, the Idle No More movement has burst onto the political scene since beginning on December 10. The article states that a "second wave of Idle No More protests swept across Canada on Friday December 21, with support events held across the U.S. and as far away as Europe and New Zealand . . . ."
Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence has also entered her 16(?)th day of a hunger strike that she vows to see through to the end. She is demanding, I believe, that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper meet directly with Indigenous leaders over C-45.
"Thousands of people turned out for social media-organized flash mobs—seemingly spontaneous assemblies in malls and other public places—in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and beyond, and rallies . . . ."
Apparently, the movement began due to the Canadian federal omnibus budget bill C-45, which was passed into law the week of Dec. 22. But the protests are also aimed at the living and human rights issues that aboriginal peoples are subjected to.
The C-45 law, apparently, reduces the number of referendum votes needed to allow First Nations' reserve lands to be used for development, and guts waterways protection.
The Canadian Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AAND) denied that the government is attempting to extinguish or terminate indigenous rights. “In fact, it was First Nations themselves who asked for these changes so that they could better use First Nations lands to improve the economies and self-sufficiency of their communities,” Jan O'Driscoll, spokesman for Minister John Duncan, told ICTMN. “There is a misconception that these amendments will allow a First Nation community to 'sell-off' First Nations land. This is false. These amendments are only about leasing and have nothing to do with surrendering reserve lands, and [they] allow First Nations to economically benefit from their lands and to manage them according to their by-laws. Any lands designated will still require chiefs and councils to consult their community members and gain their permission to take advantage of these new provisions.”