Elijah Sugarhead of Nibinamik First Nation was following the advice of his Elders when he went to Toronto to join Ryerson University’s Idle No More rally.
Sugarhead delivered a speech on Feb. 4 in Toronto, talking about the various ways the omnibus bill that was passed in December through parliament would affect the environment, land and people of northern Ontario.
Sugarhead said he was contacted by Ryerson University to be a speaker at the rally. He said he agreed because he was informed by Elders to be aware that something like the INM movement would happen and he should take part.
“Our Elders were told, by the Elders before them, that this sort of stuff would happen with the government,” Sugarhead explained, Sugarhead said he was told that it was important to work together and pass the information on to the next generation.
“The Elders told us to be aware,” Sugarhead said.
Sugarhead has been working with the North-South Partnership of Canada, and is involved with many multicultural conferences. “I facilitated some of them,” he said. “I believe in working together as one no matter who we are and what colour our skin is.”
To him, INM is a chance to change how Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people work together.
The rally itself felt a little overwhelming, he said. He is glad to be a part of the movement and hopes to make a difference and create some kind of change in the world.
“I am going to continue to work with multicultural groups,” Sugarhead said. “I want to bring about change, with all kinds of people, for the future. I believe this INM movement can be more than what it is today. We need to get our people prepared for the future no matter what.”
Alice Sabourin of Pic River First Nation was also invited to attend the event.
“It was so powerful,” Sabourin said of the rally. “I have never felt so amazed in my life. I was going to sing the Strong woman’s song for a round dance, and just before I did four other women hand drummers came and stood beside me. We sang those songs together.”
Sabourin was proud to be there as an “AnishnawbeQuek Grandmother” supporting the non-native community and youth of Ryerson who were hosting the rally.
“There is so much strength and energy from Idle No More,” Sabourin added.
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