Courtesy Idle No More
First Nations women – Sheelah McLean, Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, and Jessica Gordon launched the Idle No More movement in mid-December.

Haudenosaunee Hold Idle No More Round Dance in Syracuse

Gale Courey Toensing
January 01, 2013


Citizens of the six nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and their non-Native supporters joined hands in a flash mob Round Dance of solidarity with the Idle No More movement on Saturday, December 29, bringing drums and songs to the lover level of the Destiny USA mall in Syracuse, New York.

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy, also known by its French name, the Iroquois Confederacy, includes the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora nations. They have lived in the area known as northern New York state and on both sides of the imposed international border between Canada and the United States since time immemorial.

The Round Dance event was organized by members of the Onondaga Nation and drew upwards of 300 people from all of the nations and the surrounding communities. The Syracuse gathering was one of hundreds of Round Dance events and other actions that have spread across Canada, the United States and even beyond to Europe and the Middle East since four First Nations women – Sheelah McLean, Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, and Jessica Gordon – launched the Idle No More movement in mid-December. The movement originally protested the passage by the Canadian legislature of a draconian law that violates treaties and makes it easier for multinational corporations to purchase, exploit and degrade indigenous lands without any consultation, let alone the “free, prior and informed consent” and other requirements of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. But since then it has grown into a peaceful grassroots social justice movement that aims to raise consciousness and understanding of indigenous sovereignty and the urgent need to protect the environment. The movement ultimately seeks to bring about profound social, political and economic change locally and globally.

Idle No More is symbolized by Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence who is on a hunger strike she began on December 10 and has pledged to continue until Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper agrees to meet with her and other indigenous leaders. The Idle No More website reports that Harper posted a tweet saying “mmm. . . bacon” on December 21 when Spence was on the 11th day of her hunger strike.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media are playing a crucial role in spreading the word about Idle No More just as they did in sparking the Arab Spring across certain Middle East countries.

“We are looking for a resolution, not a revolution,” Rob Benedict, a member of the Turtle Clan of the Mohawk Nation who attended the Syracuse Round Dance, told the Post-Standard “The Natives in Canada have laid low and have been kicked around for too long,” Benedict said. ”This movement has lit a fire. We are standing up and saying no more.”


Watch this video from CNY Central News of the event:



Submitted by Anonymous on

I am not native and I am with this movement 1000%
I am very grateful to First Nations for once again providing so much leadership and vision for themselves and for all of us. We should be grateful to First Nations for teaching us so much about how to live with the earth, and we should live by those lessons NOW. And we have to participate, and fight back hard against racism against First Nations and make sure that the mistakes of the past are never repeated. No more colonialism. It has to stop now and for all time. First Nations rights! Thank you First Nations for leading the way!

Submitted by Anonymous on

I represent Quaker Earthcare Witness at the UN and have become aware of the Indigenous Peoples cause. There is a global understanding coming about, and a recognition that the actions of multinational corporations with regard to the land and the people (and others) who live there is the modern form of the same colonial empire-building that has got us into this pickle that threatens the planet and all of us. I support Idle No More wholeheartedly, and am very glad to see knowledge and support of this movement grow. I pray for Chief Spence.

Submitted by Anonymous on

OMG you have no ideal. I have lived with different Native Bands over the last 18 years. I can tell you from experience that there are, unfortunately very few native people that actually practice “respect for the land”. I have seen with my own eyes, several time things done that would send any other person to jail. But because they are natives they are not held responsible for their actions. I have seen huge amounts of money given to the Bands for various programs and seen it turn into a free for all for selected (privileged) Band members. I have seen a Chief, who’s children were grown up and no longer live with them receive a huge ($40K) grant from INAC for home renovations. This was to add a new spa bathroom and family room to a 3 Bedroom 2 story approximately 1600 sq. ft. home, while some Band members live in houses (12 people) with no inside plumbing. Take a look on most reserves and see the garbage on the front yards and around the schools. Respect for the land? This is not to say that all native people are like this, but unfortunately they are few and far between. I have several close friends that are native, and I try to encourage them to protest about unfair practices within bands. I even saw when band members protest unfair distribution of wealth to their own bands get the shaft by those in power. If we (the tax payers) knew everything that goes on with our tax dollar inside First Nations Bands there would be riots in the streets. Whenever anyone blows the whistles, they are shouted down as racists. I myself have report financial abuse by various Band Councils to the authorities, only to see nothing done and then given more money. Look at Chief Theresa Spence, who has a cloud of suspicion over her role in Band administration, and finance, she refuses to disclose where she spent federal dollars. She is no saint but she is getting media attention with her sensationalism. The media need to dig into this story and tell all of it, not just the one side. I could write a book on just what I have seen, but no one would publish it because it is not “politically correct”.

Submitted by Anonymous on

They should all be put in jail. Disrupting the traffic on our boarders. Millions go to the natives every year. What they do with it is anybodies guess. Obviously its not going to schools or health care.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I've read the very intelligent tweet from the Prime Sinister (pardon, i want said Minister) canadian from my home in France.
I'm a white man (if my mirror is not a liar), an european, a latin and a french, but i find very sad and stupid than some people have learning nothing from the past.
First nation are our first defence line. If they fall, we will!
Also, I'll put this information on my Facebook page.
First Nations may have many more allies than believed Mr. Harper!

Courage et tenez bon!

Submitted by MOUNTAIN BEAR on