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Lac Seul chief discusses Idle No More movement

Wednesday January 16, 2013

More than 100 people, including Lac Seul Chief Clifford Bull, attended a Dec. 21 Idle No More rally in Sioux Lookout, which was accompanied by prayers, traditional drumming and the Round Dance.
After the rally, Geoff Shields spoke to Bull about his thoughts on the current situation and what effect it would have on the First Nations communities, in particular Lac Seul.

Geoff Shields (GS): How do you think today’s rally went?

Clifford Bull (CB): I was very happy with the response, the nationwide response that was good. When I first drove by there earlier, there was a table and one person standing there and as the deadline to 12 o’clock gathering started, I noticed people were starting to gather. I found it very encouraging. I felt that we sent a strong message, sent a strong statement. I felt it was very worthwhile.

GS: How do you feel about the protests, is this the way to approach this?

CB: When people are united in solidarity, and (it’s) nationwide, First Nations people coming together in a common cause I believe that we send a strong statement to government.

GS: How do you see them moving forward in 2013?

CB: I anticipate that the movement can only get bigger. I mean there was actions right across Canada, and also as I understand it in the United States, Cairo, and London. I think it’s going to gather momentum in Europe when the New Year comes in.

GS: How does Lac Seul plan to make its voice heard in the New Year?

CB: Well for starters I want to acknowledge Chief Theresa Spence, who is fasting at this very moment on her eleventh day and I would like to go to Ottawa and support her and have already met with our local (Kenora) MP Greg Rickford this past Monday and talked to him about the sense of frustration by First Nations people right across Canada with some of the new legislation that has been put forth by his government.

GS: The Bill C-45 that has just been passed, in the long-term, affects all Canadians, would you agree?

CB: I agree and I think all our brothers and sisters including non-First Nations should be standing with us and supporting us, it affects all Canadians not just First Nations.

GS: How do you feel about the fact that the government just went ahead with the Bill without prior consultation with the First Nations chiefs?

CB: Again its something that we are very concerned about, we feel that we were not consulted and it was rushed through the omnibus bill and we are very concerned about it for sure.

GS: The Bill C-45: is this a positive change for the indigenous people of Canada and how do you see this helping them to be more independent?

CB: Well to me I see it differently, I think it makes particular amendments to bring the resources on the land and water and I think it we are losing the grasp of our land I think with this new bill.

GS: This bill has seen First Nations people from across Canada and the U.S. speaking as one voice instead of many, do you think this could lead to the formation of one Nation?

CB: For me I don’t see it happening at this moment but anything is possible in the future.

GS: Do you feel that the escalating protest movement will get any response from the government?

CB: Well I know that Theresa Spence is doing a valiant effort for the cause of all First Nations and if something were to happen to her, there will be a lot of concern by all First Nations and a rally to be more vocal and even go through further radical approaches for getting our voice heard.

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i believe that we as a nation

i believe that we as a nation can overcome this bill c-45, our last trump card should be as first nations people of canada go to the "UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples", as it states in there in Article 26 states that “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or otherwise used or acquired,” and it directs states to give legal recognition to these territories. The Declaration does not override the rights of Indigenous peoples contained in their treaties and agreements with individual states, and it commands these states to observe and enforce the agreements...that my friends would be our last trump card

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