“We want a nation to nation meeting and withdraw present legislation.” Chief Teresa Spence on her present hunger strike demands.
By Janet Rogers Poet Laureate, City of Victoria
They say poets make concise communicators. I hope this is true as I attempt to explain in 450 words what the Idle No More movement is all about.
Most newborn babies of this era are hyper-documented with digital cameras and video. The Idle No More baby is no different. Considering this, I strongly suggest you plug the words Idle No More into your Internet search engines to catch up on this nation’s largest and most unifying politically charged movement. The movement includes a 30-day-old (at the time this article goes to print) hunger strike by a female chief; a robot-like prime minister who can no longer hide his contempt for Indigenous peoples; and the racist legislation which clearly proves he, and his Conservative government are direct descendants of Duncan Campbell Scott. “We have to kill the Indian in the child” THAT Duncan Campbell Scott.
The news feeds will give you the nuts and bolts of the movement. I am impressed with the spiritual awakening, the cultural revitalization and the inspired mobilization this movement has cultivated in our Indigenous nations right across the country. It’s this new energy, this pride, this cultural confidence reborn, which has become the beacon for many of its supporters, both native and non-native. I can hear the faint sighs of relief by the settler people, “Finally, something meaningful by which we can define ourselves other than beer and hockey.” Because you, too, Average-Joe and yes, you too Mr. and Mrs. status-quo, will be affected by Harper’s lust for natural destruction, and yes, you, too, should be toting signs and leaving the comfort of your homes to join the movement.
The three Victoria gatherings have been peaceful, offering teachings and information sharing about Bill C-45 and its inevitable ruinous effects on the very land under (all) our feet. But first the government has to get to the land where the Indians live, and so the owner of the ball wants to change the rules of the game.
The land shapes the people, informs the culture and provides so much of who people are culturally. Indigenous people, by definition, are who we are because of how we have learned to live on the land. It’s where our songs come from, it’s where we pray. Government interference with our way of life has always had painful results. Chief Spence explains: “As a woman, I feel the pain, it goes all over my body. I can’t take it anymore. We need to maintain our cultural ways to survive.” M