David P. Ball
Idle No More participants in Vancouver, B.C. rally outside downtown's Canada Place, as local organizers prepare for another event at the U.S. border on January 5.

Idle No More Ceremony Planned for US-Canada Border January 5

David P. Ball
1/4/13

 

With the Idle No More movement rapidly spreading outside Canada's borders – seeing Indigenous rights protests emerge as far away as Texas, New Zealand, New York and the United Kingdom – activists in Washington State and British Columbia are planning an action Saturday, January 5th that literally spans the frontier.

The meet-up at the famous Peace Arch monument – described as a “peaceful prayerful gathering of Indigenous women, supported by our Indigenous men, standing united – will see Indigenous activists and supporters rally their drums, songs and prayers for change on both sides of the border.”

“It's a peaceful, prayerful action,” Kat Norris, spokesperson for the Indigenous Action Movement, told Indian Country Today Media Network. “We, the organizers, want to ensure that we are going into this with good and strong hearts. Doing this at the border, with our relatives from the other side of the border joining, we're making a statement that support comes north and south, and east and west to join this. It's a symbol of support for Idle No More and everything it stands for – and for Chief [Theresa] Spence.”

Organizers of the border gathering emphasized the event is a ceremony, not a blockade or disruption.

“It's a ceremony with smudging, drumming and singing,” Norris said. “We're following protocol – the other side will sing a welcome song. We will sing our song and why we're there (...). There are many stories my mother and grandmothers shared of visiting our relatives. That border divides our families.”

Norris said that crossing the border has painful significance for many Indigenous Peoples, who once freely roamed through their territories before the arrival of Europeans or enforcement of their boundaries.

“It's also a symbol that we do not see the border as an actual border,” she said. “It's a man-created border. Historically, as Indigenous people, we're supposed to be able to cross the border freely; our people did: they travelled all over Turtle Island. Every time we have to cross a border, it hits our hearts. It only reminds us of what we once had.”

The January 5 event emerged after the cancellation of a separate event faced controversy over its plan to blockade the U.S.-Canada border. That plan came under fire from aides to hunger striking Chief Spence last week, and its original organizers stepped back “out of respect” for Spence's request.

The confusion over the border event comes as the Idle No More movement continues to broaden its appeal and spread geographically, fueled by growing discontent, frustration and social media. But it also represents a simmering tension between grassroots community members and First Nations leadership. Spence has called for unity, and other First Nations leaders and Idle No More's original organizers echoed the sentiment in online statements.

Idle No More is described as a grassroots, leaderless movement for Indigenous rights. It initially emerged as a criticism of current federal legislation, including Bill C-45, which would reduce the threshold of votes to surrender reserve lands, and weaken waterway protect, activists allege.

And as the phenomenon spreads, so have its tactics varied – from massive round dance flash mobs in shopping malls and intersections, to a two-week railway blockade in Sarnia, Ontario which ended January 2 after a court injunction. Activists have also held hour-long blockades of highways and roads in solidarity with Idle No More and Chief Spence, who is on Day 25 of her now-famous hunger strike, demanding a meeting between the Prime Minister, Governor General and Aboriginal leadership.

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Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
Yes Stephen Harper needs to be removed as Prime minister of CANADA IMMEDIATELY! He Put Bill C-45 into Play so the world can trample over North American Indian Land to Get at the Ontario`s Chromite Ring of Fire in the Far North, Planning to take the resource and its Money Generated Right out of Canada on Another Toll Road from Nakina Across Native land at least a Hundred Miles through the Bush and Water Ways Wake Up Its Really a Harper Regime !!! Just Like the 407 Built on Tax Payers Dollars and NOW WERE IS THAT MONEY GOING !!

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
“... “We urge an end to illegal blockades and expect the rule of law to be upheld,” Harper spokesman Andrew MacDougall did say Wednesday. ...”. (Canada’s National Post report, afternoon of January 3, 2013) And know that "a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT." (From Thomas Paine's Common Sense). A once-bureaucrat who worked inside Ontario government “forest resource” offices, I became fed up with the Canadian game of denying First Nations access to forest resources surrounding their reserves. I was told by government lawyers that only they knew what the law was. I listened to the First Nations being bounced from my offices to “the Feds” by the claim that we, the mere “provincials”, could not “deal with treaty rights”. I then sat in meetings with the same First Nations present and listened to the federal bureaucrats tell the same people that they “could not” deal with their requests. Why? Because the feds and provinces had gladly conspired together to say that public lands were a “provincial jurisdiction” and treaties an unresolved national dilemma that gave no resources to First Nations. I left the government in 1997 and began to work with First Nations. I finally read the treaty of the community I worked for after I had listened to elders talk, emotionally and with one message. These were elders whose grandfathers and grandmothers had actually been at these signing ceremonies. I began to loudly challenge in forest resource meetings where I was asked to attend on behalf of First Nations. Those treaties? “The law” is the same for any situation. If we sell a garage to a friend and do so in front of 100 friends and family, we cannot then say that we did not sell the garage. It matters not one bit what “the lawyers” might argue OR even what was put in writing, in a different language. The original promise of “shared resources” and a peace-filled nation of cooperation is then legally binding. The problem is no different in the good old USA and in Canada. Indeed, I was forced to leave the work I was doing on behalf of one First Nation community because I was arrested in February 2004. Initially, I did not think that this was, directly, a First Nation issue, some might say, but it was “resource related”. And I learned that, what is done for 250 years to others then can be done to even the silent “white man”. By 2003, I had dared to start to challenge that my issues about justice were being placed in front of “judges” who were tainted. These were lawyers who had donated to the partisans who then promoted them. I began to reference my findings from our history. Do not forget that Hitler came to be empowered because partisans came together to say that “he shall be leader!” This was a promotion that was protected by “judges” of the right partisan flavours, hidden under black robes. It was not until November 2004 that I referenced the history of a singular German judge who was declared by some to be the sole moral judge in Germany after 1939, Dr. Lothar Kreyssig. After his appointment to the German court in 1928, Kreyssig publicly opposed the Reich's policies, even "... referring to Nazi church policies as "injustice masquerading in the form of law"...”. Kreyssig began legal injunctions to stop the removal of wards of his court from German mental hospitals without his knowledge, to then be secretly killed. Kreyssig was forced into early retirement as he continued to oppose the concept that euthanasia was “the will of the Fuhrer” and that the “Fuhrer was “the fount of the law” in the Third Reich”. Kreyssig even began Criminal Code charges against the Nazi party leader who headed the euthanasia program. The Third Reich began a criminal investigation against him, which was closed without prosecution after he resigned. The Nuremberg trials showed that Germany decayed into the control of partisans because they astutely posted those loyal to their concepts of what the law was into the courts. The German judge, who claimed they became a member of the Nazi party simply so that they were able to reduce the atrocities, still were condemned in Nuremberg. This was because they failed to stop injustice in singular cases before general anarchy reigned. Warriors had the courage to expose their faces to stop this before 1945. Surely we have the courage to expose our faces and voices to stop this in 2013? Full text of this 5 page letter has gone to this organization's editors... Don MacAlpine Wolseley, Saskatchewan, Canada

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
IDLE NO MORE - Dallas TEXAS - Sunday Jan 6, 2013 @ 1:50pm - "The Grassy Knoll" @ Main & Elm St. - Across from the Red Court House. Come one, COME ALL - BRING YOUR HAND DRUMS AND HAVE A '49' BALL

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous
Submitted by Anonymous on
Alaska's Big Vilage Network, Tribal organizations, urban communities stand in solidarity with the Indigenous women, men, youth and elders of North America, and all of Turtle Island !
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