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Idle No More movement

Thursday January 9, 2014
Idle no more, Ottawa.

Although the activities and momentum of the Idle No More movement seems to have waned since last spring, its impact and high energy in the early months of 2013 makes it Wawatay’s runner up for the News Story of the Year.

After a holiday season of flash mobs, round dances, and blockades, the Idle No More founders released a mission statement and manifesto. The movement declared First Nations to be sovereign and that treaties were made on nation-to-nation basis; that First Nations receive unequal share of benefits from resource development; and that resource development leads to “poisoned water, land and air.”

The movement at the time was always intertwined with the hunger strike of Theresa Spence.
So on Jan. 11, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper met with a small number of chiefs – which Spence boycotted – thousands rallied in cities, towns and communities across Canada and various parts of the world in support of Spence.

In Ottawa, about 4,000 marchers gathered outside the building where Harper was meeting with the chiefs. National Chief Shawn Atleo later said the rally could be heard within the meeting room. The rally proceeded peacefully to Parliament Hill.

The next day, Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow, author/activist Naomi Klein, and singer Sarah Slean returned their Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medals as a sign of solidarity with either Spence, Idle No More or both.

On Jan. 28, a World Day of Action was held, where rallies were held in at least 30 cities. In Ottawa, the rally gathered outside Parliament Hill as MPs returned to the House of Commons after a month-and-a-half break.

In February, a Garden River First Nation member was the victim of hatemail due to her Idle No More related activities.

While the movement seemed to have waned, many activists said teach-ins and other peaceful events were held.

On Oct. 7, more than 50 events were held across Canada and the world to recognize the 250th anniversary of the British Royal Proclamation.


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