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 Post subject: Idle No More
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:06 pm 
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I searched around and didn't see anything, so I really apologize if there is already an active thread on this topic but I couldn't find it anywhere.

Have any of you been following or participating in the Idle no More rallies that have been taking place across Canada and in parts of the US? Idle no More is a movement that seeks to draw attention to the ongoing disrespect of treaty rights of Aboriginal (First Nations, Inuit, and Metis) individuals in Canada. The systematic disenfranchisement of Aboriginal individuals in Canada has a long and sordid history, but the straw that broke the camel's back was Bill C-45, which, among other things, severely weakens several aspects of environmental regulation.

The movement began in November of 2012 as a response to Bill C-45, and began gaining momentum in December when a National Day of Action was held on December 10th. Also in December, Theresa Spence, the Chief of Attiwapiskat began a hunger strike in response to PM Stephen Harper's continued inaction regarding the appalling state of affairs in her home community (to make a boring story even more boring, Attiwapiskat is an extremely remote community in Northern Ontario that regularly sees winter temperatures in the -40C range, where several residents lack access to proper housing, electricity, sanitation, and clean water). These two events have spurred wider protests and blockades across the country that seek to bring attention to the government's continued disrespect of native treaties and the disenfranchisement of Aboriginal individuals in general.

I was just curious to see if any other PPKers have been involved in or have thoughts on Idle no More and / or the status of Aboriginal people in North America in general. For me, the most upsetting thing about these protests has been the blatant racism expressed by so many people that I thought were reasonable, compassionate, and educated. In my opinion, it's totally reasonable to disagree with certain aspects of this movement but I'm really disheartened by the way that so many people seem willing to write this off as "entitled Natives demanding handouts."


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 Post subject: Re: Idle No More
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 6:34 pm 
Seagull of the PPK
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edited for keyboard weirdness:

i'm not familiar with this movement but it breaks my heart and boils my blood to hear, over and over again, tales of incredible poverty and suffering on first nations reservations (like recently with regards to fracking, iirc, and US legislation that allows oil processing runoff to poison the land on other areas) and a response of general indifference [i hesitate to say this, but almost a feeling like "well, the economy is bad and real people need jobs". i've never heard that spoken out loud but that is the distinct feeling i always got when i used get involved in this area. as if they've always been poor, so no need to change].
and like you said, the cultural bias against first peoples is so strong in many places that it's almost an automatic kneejerk feeling. I will always remember people in my family saying things like that, and then later learning that our family was part native, and still thought of indians as lazy. or demanding handouts.

more research and facts about how many treaties have been broken (easier to look at how many have been kept, which is approximately 0 as far as i'm aware) is more maddening. Sadly, the situation here in Brazil is very similar.
ETA: for example, indigenous people here are pretty limited in what actions they can take about their own situation. their only real means of protest is to block the roads cutting through their reservations and either demand handouts or destroy the cars and trucks of passersby in protest. The non-native population, as a result, resents native people as dangerous, always wanting money and unpredictable.

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 Post subject: Re: Idle No More
PostPosted: Sat Jan 12, 2013 9:28 pm 
Drunk Dialed Ian MacKaye
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To add to that, its hard even when you support indigenous rights to get out of the colonialist/racist language. Like I always said "they deserve those benefits! We benefit unfairly from white privilege, its leveling the playing field!" Because we always talk about native "benefits" as handouts that they get from taxpayers, and not royalties from natural resources that they own and we exploit. For example, Attiwapiskat does not get any revenue from the diamond mines on their land. DIAMOND MINES. We do not give them benefits, we do not allow them to benefit.

There was a flashmob today that I wanted to go to, it was supposed to be earlier this week but because of the snow storm it got cancelled, and I worked today :( I'm definitely looking to be involved in future action though.

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 Post subject: Re: Idle No More
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:21 am 
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torque wrote:
i hesitate to say this, but almost a feeling like "well, the economy is bad and real people need jobs". i've never heard that spoken out loud but that is the distinct feeling i always got when i used get involved in this area. as if they've always been poor, so no need to change


I think you really hit the nail on the head. A lot of public opinion seems to be that Indigenous people in general need to just "get over it" and assimilate and stop trying to live in the past. One good tactic I've heard to start changing minds is to ask the person who says something like this to try saying it about a different race or ethnic group (e.g. "Those __ need to just speak English and stop cooking their weird food and practising their weird religion!"). A lot of people would shy away from blatant racism like that... I hope...

Shy Mox wrote:
To add to that, its hard even when you support indigenous rights to get out of the colonialist/racist language. Like I always said "they deserve those benefits! We benefit unfairly from white privilege, its leveling the playing field!" Because we always talk about native "benefits" as handouts that they get from taxpayers, and not royalties from natural resources that they own and we exploit. For example, Attiwapiskat does not get any revenue from the diamond mines on their land. DIAMOND MINES. We do not give them benefits, we do not allow them to benefit.


I agree - I think this is a huge part of the problem! A lot of reasonable, well-meaning people are simply uninformed about what Aboriginal people are asking for today vs what is SIGNED INTO LAW in treaty agreements vs what actually happens. At the rally I attended yesterday, two teachers spoke and mentioned that, when they bring up Aboriginal rights in a class of mostly white, middle-class Canadians, many of the students are genuinely surprised to learn that Aboriginal people still live in Canada! The reality of modern-day Aboriginal people simply is not discussed in school or, usually, in the news, so it's not hard to understand how people end up uninformed.


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 Post subject: Re: Idle No More
PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2013 9:57 am 
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From what I understand, it is different in the US as we do pay for resources on native lands and they have to initiate and agree. The larger problem is most natives were moved to lands that weren't originally theirs and in general were lacking in resources. (My great grandma always used to talk about the area she grew up on when we passed it by car but it is now part of a military base and her tribe wasn't given any lands). There are few, I think in Oklahoma that contain oil resources but they'd have to bring outsiders in to tap the resources. In the US, many tribes were saved financially due to being able to run casinos. Other tribes may get by with some crafts but otherwise they are left to lliving on their resource limited lands living in poverty with a severely high alcoholism and suicide rate.

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 Post subject: Re: Idle No More
PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2013 11:00 am 
Seagull of the PPK
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came across this today (yes, i read happy hippy magazines!). several more links on the topic at the bottom. i like the connection to the civil rights movement.
http://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justic ... itual-side

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