This movement embodies a vision for indigenous people's rights and the environment: "Idle No More calls on all people to join in a peaceful revolution, to honour Indigenous sovereignty, and to protect the land and water."
Events are being held in Canada, the U.S., and around the world tomorrow, and will be ongoing.
“Our people and our mother earth can no longer afford to be economic hostages in the race to industrialize our homelands. It’s time for our people to rise up and take back our role as caretakers and stewards of the land.” This is a quote from the communication coordinator for the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Eriel Deranger, noted warrior in the tar sands battle.
Arm in arm with Defenders of the Land, a network of indigenous communities and activists in land struggle across Canada, environmentalists and climate-change activists like Bill McKibben and other supporters are on board. There are many ways you can get involved.
Follow me below the Daily Kos border for more.
After the May 2, 2011 Canadian Federal election, the federal government led by Stephen Harper proposed a number of omnibus bills introducing numerous legislative changes. While omnibus bills had been presented to parliament by previous governments, the perceived ideological nature of the changes proposed in Bill C-45 played to fears of a right-wing agenda held by the Conservatives, particularly concerning the removal of the term "absolute surrender" in Section 208, among others.The movement achieved greater visibility when it was fueled by a 44-day liquid diet hunger strike, undertaken by Chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation in Canada Theresa Spence, which ended on Jan. 24, 2013.
A number of these measures drew fire from environmental and First Nations groups. In particular, Bill C-45 overhauled the Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) of 1882, renaming it the Navigation Protection Act (NPA). The NWPA had mandated an extensive approval and consultation process before construction of any kind could take place in or around any water which could in principle be navigated by any kind of floating craft. Under the new NPA, the approval process would only be required for development around one of a vastly circumscribed list of waterways set by the Minister of Transportation. Many of the newly deregulated waterways passed through traditional First Nations land.
While the NWPA had originally been intended to facilitate actual navigation, the ubiquity of waterways in the Canadian wilderness has given it the effect of strong environmental legislation by presenting a significant barrier to industrial development, especially to projects such as pipelines which crossed many rivers. The government had by this time been engaged for some years in a campaign for approval of the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project, a proposal to build a pipeline for bitumen condensate connecting the Athabasca tar sands with the Pacific Ocean, facilitating unprocessed bitumen exports to China. Many bills affecting First Nations people have failed to be passed. Numerous attempts to introduce bills have failed due to their low priority for past federal governments, eventually dying on the order paper without being debated or passed...Further background to this is the feeling that the federal government has repeatedly acted in bad faith with Aboriginal people's interests, and have violated treaties when it suited them. The feeling that the traditional tactics of negotiating with the federal government have become meaningless has caused support for new tactics.
When we approach or highlight issues being raised and confronted by native peoples, too often we see things in terms of "borders" like those between Canada and the U.S. or the U.S. and Mexico. The use of the term "American Indians" in the U.S. tends to obfuscate the relationships that pre-date the drawing of national lines, and often has dire consequences for those peoples divided by these boundaries.
Rachel Rose Starks, Jen McCormack, and Stephen Cornell
These issues are explored in a book from The University of Arizona's Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management and Policy: Native Nations and U.S. Borders: Challenges to Indigenous Culture, Citizenship, and Security
While they mark separations (political, cultural, and economic) they also are sites of convergence, places where nations, peoples, and environments meet and connect. Along borders are continuities as well: ecosystems, relationships, and human communities. What borders often fail to be, ironically, is definitive.
For Indigenous peoples living near international borders that separate the United States from Canada, Mexico, and Russia, the two sides of the boundary may compose a single contiguous space: a homeland, or a network of relationships reaching far back to a distant past. In these regions, Indigenous ideas and practices -- many of them multiple centuries old -- meet U.S. border policies head-on, raising challenges both for the governments of the countries involved and for Native nations themselves.
But policy discussions about U.S. borders seldom include Native voices and seldom take Native views into account. And they rarely address how policies designed to protect international borders drastically affect Native nations that live near those borders or are divided by them.
While many progressives and activists in the United States are focused on the impact of the shutdown of the government by Republicans, and news stories focus on federal workers, overlooked are the dire consequences for Native Americans on this side of the Canadian-U.S. border, where Indian county is hard hit, and "federal funding has been cut off for crucial services including foster care payments, nutrition programs and financial assistance for the needy."
Indigenous peoples need your support as allies. More importantly, the world they are seeking to preserve and sustain is one in which we all live—our water, land, air and natural resources see no skin color or ethnicity.
Take a stand, join hands and raise your voices for all of us and for future generations. You can join Native American Netroots right here at Daily Kos.