Monday's Idle No More protests by thousands of Indigenous people and their allies across Canada have their roots in resistance to tar sands development and the Harper government's blatant attempts to clear the way for large-scale exploitation of land, water, and people. As The Wandering Anthropologist put it earlier today:
With the massive exploitation of the tar sands taking off in Alberta, Canada has been transforming into a major oil producing nation, thereby also transforming relations between the First Nations, who live on top of the tar sands, and the federal government. Canada’s government, led by the Conservative Stephen Harper, is introducing a package of measures which includes changes to laws that will expedite access to tar sands, and transport of oil and gas through Canada. The laws will facilitate enormous expansion of the tar sands oil production and hugely impact on the lives of First Nations.
In this light, First nations protests throughout Canada, aiming to stop precisely that which lies at the heart of the Conservative governments’ policies, deserve more attention they have been receiving.
More below the billowing orange gas flare.
There's something happening in Canada, perhaps the beginnings of a broad Indigenous movement. It's getting almost no coverage in mainstream Canadian media, and zero or subzero attention here in the U.S. But social media are on fire over nationwide protest events today, and some Tweeps and bloggers are saying that this, as we head into winter, could be the start of a Native Spring.
Poster Art by Dwayne Bird - twitter: @DwayneBird
Today Barack Obama signed an executive order, Improving American Indian and Alaska Native Educational Opportunities and Strengthening Tribal Colleges and Universities, creating an initiative to better coordinate the work of the Department of Education and the Bureau of Indian Education (within the Dept. of the Interior) to
expand educational opportunities and improve educational outcomes for all AI/AN students, including opportunities to learn their Native languages, cultures, and histories and receive complete and competitive educations that prepare them for college, careers, and productive and satisfying lives
Funding for the new initiative, to come from the Dept. of Ed, would build capacity in tribal education agencies, public schools, and Tribal Colleges and Universities to deliver high-quality education to Native American students. If the plans come to fruition, the United States could pay some of the back-rent it owes for the tribal lands it occupies.
I guess one of the things I'll be able to say is that I joined the one-week boycott of Daily Kos in 2011. The statistics showing the number of African American people who have been banned did it for me. I'll be out at midnight California time. See you all about 168 hours after that.