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Indigenous Nationhood: Beyond Idle No More January 29, 2013

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Published on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 by Taiaiake

by Gerald Taiaiake Alfred

Our collective action in Idle No More has shown that there is support among Canadians for a movement that embodies principled opposition to the destruction of the land and the extension of social justice to Indigenous peoples. When we as Indigenous people have a political agenda that’s consistent with our Original Teachings – to have a respectful relationship with the land and the natural environment and to have a respectful relationship among all of the nations that share this land – we have seen that this is a powerful draw for many people in our own nations and

in the broader society.

But it is clear too that the movement has plateaued. Much of the passion, urgency and attention Idle No More generated is dissipating in the wake of Chief Theresa Spence’s fast and the “13 Point Declaration” supported by Chief Spence, the Assembly of First Nations and the two Canadian opposition parties – which to many people in the movement represents a cooptation of the movement’s demands by the chiefs of the Assembly of First Nations in support of their ongoing negotiations and long-running bureaucratic processes.

The question in the minds of many people in the movement who are committed to more serious and transformational goals is how do we revive the momentum driving us towards fundamental change that we had at the start of the movement? I think that the only way to keep this movement going is for us to see our actions in Idle No More as part of a larger and long-standing commitment to the restoration of Indigenous nationhood.

We need to focus our activism on the root of the problem facing our people collectively: our collective dispossession and misrepresentation as Indigenous peoples. Now is the time to put ourselves back on our lands spiritually and physically and to shift our support away from the Indian Act system and to start energizing the restoration of our own governments. Our people and our languages and our ceremonies should be saturating our homelands and territories. Our leaders should answer to us not to the Minister of Indian Affairs or his minions. Our governments should be circles in which we all sit as equals and participate fully and where all of our voices are heard, not systems of hierarchy and exclusion legitimized and enforced by Canadian laws. Restoring our nationhood in this way is the fundamental struggle. Our focus should be on restoring our presence on the land and regenerating our true nationhood. These go hand in hand and one cannot be achieved without the other.

Idle No More has been a good and necessary thing. Like thousands of others over the last couple of months, I am proud to have been a whole-hearted participant in educating the wider public, making the connection between our Native rights and the democratic rights of all citizens, and arguing for the protection of the environment under the Idle No More banner. But the limits to Idle No More are clear, and many people are beginning to realize that the kind of movement we have been conducting under the banner of Idle No More is not sufficient in itself to decolonize this country or even to make meaningful change in the lives of people.

Those of us in the movement need to ask ourselves this hard question: what have we accomplished through Idle No More? There’s been politicization of some Native people. There’s been some media attention. There have been rallies and demonstrations. Great art and music has been produced. These are all good. But in terms of meaningful change in the lives of people and the struggle for justice, things are no different now than when this whole thing started. The federal government has not responded or felt the need to address in any way the challenge we’ve presented so far. We are in danger of becoming institutionalized and predictable as a movement, or worse, becoming kind of a giant Facebook rant that like all Facebook rants is a closed circle easily ignored which has no real relation to things actually happening in people’s lives. What this means if we are committed to making change and achieving justice for our people is that we need to alter our strategies and tactics to present more of a serious challenge on the ground to force the federal government to engagement our movement and to respond to us in a serious way.

I believe that what our movement needs is a mobilization of people on the basis of Indigenous Nationhood, led by traditional chiefs and clan mothers, medicine people, elders and youth, to start acting on our inherent rights on the land and to demand respect for our traditional governments. In practical terms, we need to go beyond demonstrations and rallies in malls and legislatures and on public streets and start to reoccupy Indigenous sacred, ceremonial and cultural use sites to re-establish our presence on our land and in doing so to educate Canadians about our continuing connections to those places and how important they are to our continuing existence as Indigenous peoples.

If we do this we can, once again, make the Assembly of First Nations, the mainstream media, the opposition parties hear the true voice of Indigenous people in this country and if we are strong and tenacious in demonstrating our commitment to these goals, we can force the federal government to take us seriously.

Now is the time to transgress, reoccupy, rise… as Original Peoples.

© 2012 Gerald Taiaiake Alfred
Gerald Taiaiake Alfred

Gerald Taiaiake Alfred is a Kahnawake Mohawk author, educator and professor at the University of Victoria where he specializes in studies of traditional governance, the restoration of land-based cultural practices, and decolonization strategies. His books include Peace, Power, Righteousness: An Indigenous Manifesto and Heeding the Voices of Our Ancestors: Kahnawake Mohawk Politics and the Rise of Native Nationalism. Read more of his work on his website. Follow him on twitter: @Taiaiake



Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, First Nations, Idle No More.
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COMMENTARY · 10th January 2013, http://www.terracedaily.ca
Merv Ritchie


As the controversy grows regarding the Indian people of Canada the Stephen Harper Conservative government of Canada is once again banking on the lack of knowledge by Canadians of the Canadian system of governance.

In a manner similar to Harpers two previous prorogations of parliament, it is only due to the inability of Canadians (and Canadian media personalities) to fully comprehend the procedures of proper government principles is Harper able to continue unchallenged. The proper functioning of a civil democracy depends on the government following the rule of law and respecting all parliamentary procedures. All of democracy fails when inappropriate actions are taken for expediency. This is what has happened in Canada since 1867 in regards to the Indians.

The British never went to war against the Indian people who originally inhabited the land we call Canada. The Indians (from the Latin word indigenous) were allies with the British in conflicts with the Americans and the French. There was a long standing tradition of mutual respect. Many Treaties were signed to ensure this mutual respect was fully and completely understood.

Origin: 1640–50; Latin indigen ( a ) native, original inhabitant ( indi-, by-form of in- in-2 (cf. indagate) + -gena, derivative from base of gignere to bring into being; cf. genital, genitor) + -ous

The Indian people of The Sacred Circle have been been on a respectful mission to settle these issues (click here) since the mid 1800’s.

Teresa Spence, the elected Indian Chief currently on a hunger strike, has taken council from Treaty Chiefs. She is now finally following the right and proper procedure by requesting a meeting with the Queens representative. When Canada was incorporated as a Country, and later when the constitution was repatriated from Britain, Canada had an obligation to respect the intent and spirit of these treaties. If the Indigenous nations who signed these treaties feel Canada has neglected to honour them they have the right to return to the other signatory to the document, the Crown of England. Today this means Queen Elizabeth and her representative in Canada, the Governor General.

In British Columbia the Crowns representative, Governor Douglas, followed the British rule of law by making treaties and purchasing land from the Indian Nations. Subsequent to Douglas, successive governments in British Columbia have ignored international law. The same applies to various legislative acts of the Canadian Parliament; such as the legislation which allowed the Residential School system, Canada has since apologized for.

Expecting the indigenous peoples to be completely literate and knowledgeable on the various aspects of law is to ignore the reality of the Indian peoples. Most people of European decent were raised by parents and grandparents who could read and write. For many western generations the knowledge and skills required to survive in western society was shared. For most indigenous people reading and writing skills of parents and or grandparents only existed two or three generations. Only today are the survivors, of these ancestors who signed the Treaties, beginning to fully recognize how wrong they have been treated. The rest of the world is also witnessing how badly Canada has treated the Indian people they signed treaties with. The treaties are, after all, internationally recognized obligations.

If the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, will not respect the documents signed by her predecessor and Queen Victoria’s father, King George III, the Indian people will have to plead to the International Court for these treaties to be respected. Queen Victoria had an understanding similar to her fathers by respecting and protecting the original inhabitants; honouring the Royal Proclamation of 1763. She is quoted as stating; “It is not in our custom to annex countries”. Wars were not engaged in; treaties of mutual respect were made.

These respectful transactions were continued through her reign as the Queen of England, 1838 to 1900. It was the corporate elite, those desiring to benefit financially by theft or fraudulent behaviors, which had Queen Victoria and King George III act as protectors.

In Canada today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is claiming his new legislative actions are required to meet financial objectives. This might be true however in respect of these treaties signed on behalf of Canada he has reneged on Canada’s international responsibilities.

The demand to meet with the Queens representative then is to elevate the discussion to a more serious level.

Canadians did not understand the prorogation of Parliament was a damaging, unprecedented action, which harmed the integrity of Canada’s Parliamentary democracy. The media in Canada did not inform Canadians properly of this inappropriate behaviour.

Today the media is unlikely to inform the public on the entirely appropriate behaviour of the Indigenous nations to demand their treaties be respected. In all likelihood the media will promote hate and bigotry by mis-informing Canadians.



Champions of ‘Idle No More’ Stage Blockades Across Canada January 16, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, First Nations, Idle No More.
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Published on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 by Common Dreams

Demonstrators and spin-off protests undeterred by mild divisions within fast-growing movement

– Lauren McCauley, staff writer

Though not officially sanctioned by the Idle No More campaign, First Nations chiefs and activists have picked up the momentum and are rallying across Canada Wednesday as part of a national day of action in solidarity with the ongoing environmental and indigenous rights campaign.

A protestor holds a flag aloft and an Idle No More spinoff protest in Cayuga, Ontario on Jan. 16. (Photo via @CBCHamilton)

Chiefs unsatisfied with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s slow response to First Nations demands have declared the day to assert their rights and hopefully hasten official recognition and legislative action.

Demonstrations, round dances and rallies occurred across Canada while roadblocks of local railway lines and a large demonstration at North America’s busiest border crossing have also been confirmed.

“We’re sending the message very clearly with the railway blockade that [there’s] going to be no more stolen property being sold until such time that they come to the table and deal with the original owners,” said Terry Nelson, a former chief of the Roseau River First Nation in southern Manitoba.

APTN National News reported Wednesday: “Rail blockaders in Manitoba. CN confirms regional traffic has been shut down.”

Rail blockaders in Manitoba. CN confirms regional traffic has been shut down. fb.me/21aVHcafB

Also, the Global News announced earlier:

Posts on social media Wednesday morning called on supporters to meet at the Red Sun Smoke Shop and Gas Bar just northwest of Winnipeg to join a convoy headed to the intersection of the Trans-Canada and the Yellowhead highways near Portage la Prairie. A blockade of a railway near the intersection is planned.

Occupy Carlisle (@occupycarlisle) tweeted: “Via Rail says blockade between Belleville, Ont. and Kingston, Ont. has forced company to stop trains #IdleNoMore”

Another large grassroots group led an “economic slowdown,” targeting the Ambassador Bridge between Windsor, Ont. and Detroit, Mich.

Organizer Lorena Garvey-Shepley was clear to point out the action was “not a blockade,” adding, “we don’t want to inconvenience people too much. But we want to be in places that are going to get us noticed and allow us to get our information out.”

MT @jvrCTV: protest blocking US bound traffic at Windsor-Detroit crossing. May be moving off road now pic.twitter.com/kj8ETJuR

Organizers held a “peaceful walk” towards the bridge concluding with a rally at the base on the Canadian side.

Organizers reiterated that today’s actions are expected to be peaceful though protesters are prepared to get arrested.

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabaska Chipewyan First Nation said that if the indigenous movement’s demands are not recognized soon, more dramatic actions, including roadblocks, can be expected.

“The people are upset with the current state of affairs in this country and things are escalating towards more direct action,” he said. 

Across Canada, protestors marched the streets—often blocking traffic—banging drums and carrying banners blatantly displaying “Idle No More.”

protest in Sarnia by Aamjiwnanng – about 100 including kids from local daycare asking for clean air pic.twitter.com/Xk9w8epx

More pictures from today’s actions can be seen here.

CBC News has listed a partial overview of the solidarity actions planned for Wednesday.


Though inspired by the Idle No More movement, Wednesday’s actions—particularly the bridge and street blockades—highlighted protest tactics not condoned by the campaign’s founders, marking potential divisions as the movement grows beyond itself.

“If you have an impromptu blockade that doesn’t follow the legal permits, then you’re irritating the public and that’s not the purpose behind Idle No More,” said Sylvia McAdam, one of the movement’s four originators. “A lot of our children and elders are involved in the [Idle No More] activities, so their safety is our priority.”

The movement leaders are instead focusing on a Jan. 28 Idle No More International Call-to-Action during which they will protest at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill as “MPs return to the legislature after their winter break.”

In a recent interview, McAdam specified that, despite heavy media attention given to co-founder Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s recent hunger strike, Idle No More has no one leader, saying:

The grassroots movement of Idle No More is the face of all grassroots people…The founders might be considered guides or maintaining the vision, but Idle No More has no leader or official spokesperson.

A recent press release on the Official Idle No More website echoed this sentiment:

This movement has been guided by Spiritual Elders, dreams, visions, and from peoples’ core values. We are here to ensure the land, the waters, the air, and the creatures and indeed each of us, return to balance and discontinue harming each other and the earth.

January 11th’s official Day of Action and meeting between First Nation leaders and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper exposed a rift in leadership when Idle No More leaders, namely Chief Spence, rejected the meeting on the basis it did not meet their demands while a number of other Chiefs partook despite the protest.

A poll on the official Idle No More website asks “Do you think the media is playing up the perceived divisions within IDM?”

The poll will run for a month, but thus far readers have responded 56 percent voted ‘Yes, we are stronger than ever!’, 14 percent responded ‘I’m not sure’ while 30 percent said ‘No, there are divisions and the media is playing it just right.’

Idle No More: Indigenous Uprising Sweeps North America January 10, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, Democracy, Environment, First Nations.
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Roger’s note: the Conservatives of Stephen Harper (a friend refers to them as the suposi-Tories) formed a majority government with barely 40% of the popular vote and now act with mean-spirited Social Darwinistic impunity (with attacks on social programs, aboriginal rights and environmental protection, etc.).  They call themselves Conservatives but in reality the old Progressive Conservative Party has been hijacked by the quasi-fascistic Reform Party (Canada’s Tea Party).  They cannot be stopped through parliamentary means, the struggle is in the streets.
Published on Thursday, January 10, 2013 by YES! Magazine

Idle No More has organized the largest mass mobilizations of indigenous people in recent history. What sparked it off and what’s coming next?

  by  Kristin Moe

It took weeks of protests, flash mobs, letters, rallies, and thousands of righteous tweets, but Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper finally caved. He agreed to a meeting with the woman who had been petitioning him for twenty-four days, subsisting on fish broth, camped in a tepee in the frozen midwinter, the hunger striker and Chief of the Attawapiskat Theresa Spence.

The mobilization around Chief Spence’s hunger strike has already grown to encompass broader ideas of colonialism and our relationship to the land.

No, this is not normal parliamentary process. The hunger strike was a final, desperate attempt to get the attention of a government whose relationship with indigenous people has been ambivalent at best and genocidal at worst, and force it to address their rising concerns. The meeting, set for this Friday, January 11, is unlikely to result in any major changes to Canada’s aboriginal policy. Yet the mobilization around Chief Spence’s hunger strike has already grown to encompass broader ideas of colonialism and our collective relationship to the land. The movement has coalesced under one name, one resolution: Idle No More.

Closed-door negotiations spark a movement

The Idle No More movement arose as a response to what organizers call the most recent assault on indigenous rights in Canada: Bill C-45, which passed on December 14. Bill C-45 makes changes to the Indian Act, removes environmental protections, and further erodes the treaties with native peoples through which Canada was created.

Indigenous leaders accuse the Harper administration of “ramming through” legislation without debate or consultation.

On December 4, when representatives of First Nations came to the House of Commons to share their concerns about the proposed bill, they were blocked from entering . A week later, after being repeatedly denied a meeting with Harper, Chief Spence began her hunger strike. Since then, the movement has grown to encompass a hundred years’ worth of grievances against the Canadian government, which is required by Section 35 of the Constitution Act to consult with native people before enacting laws that affect them. Indigenous leaders accuse the Harper administration of “ramming through” legislation without debate or consultation.

Even worse is the bill’s “weakening of environmental assessment and the removal of lakes and rivers from protection,” says Eriel Deranger, Communication Coordinator of Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, which is directly downstream from toxic tar sands mining. She knows firsthand the importance of protecting waterways from industrial pollutants. “Indigenous people’s rights,” she says, “are intrinsically linked to the environment.” She adds that the removal of such protections paves the way for resource extraction, bringing Canada closer to its self-stated goal of becoming a global energy superpower. This isn’t just a native thing, Deranger says; this is something that affects everyone.

And so begins the largest indigenous mass mobilization in recent history. Native people and their allies from all over North America have gathered to peacefully voice their support for indigenous rights: they’ve organized rallies, teach-ins, and highway and train blockades, as well as “flash mob” round dances at shopping malls.

With Twitter and Facebook as the major organizing tools, #idlenomore has emerged as the dominant meme in the indigenous rights movement. In addition to events across Canada, a U.S. media blitz tour has inspired solidarity actions all over North America, as well as in Europe, New Zealand, and the Middle East. Mainstream media and the Harper government are taking notice.

Anger at environmental destruction in Canada boils over

But why now? The answer, says Deranger, is that people are ready. Idle No More arose at a moment of growing awareness of environmental justice issues, frustration with lack of governmental consultation, and widespread opposition to resource extraction on indigenous land—like the tar sands in Deranger’s home province of Alberta and the diamond mines in Chief Spence’s Ontario. It comes after years of grassroots organizing around indigenous rights—which are, in the end, basic human rights.

Visit almost any reserve in Canada, and you’re likely to see third world social indicators in a first world country: high incarceration rates, inadequate housing and sanitation, reduced life expectancy—due in part to abnormally frequent suicides—lack of employment and education opportunities, and substance abuse. This, after more than a century of colonization by a government that refuses to acknowledge its identity as a colonial power. Meanwhile, native youth are the fastest-growing segment of Canada’s population, according to . Is it any surprise that they’re taking on repressive legislation and using social media to organize?

For Canadians—and potentially all North Americans—this is a moment of reckoning. Just as Chief Spence’s hunger strike forced the issue with Harper, Idle No More forces us all to confront the ugliness of our collective colonial history, and to recognize that colonization continues today.

It holds up a mirror to our society, questioning the historical narrative we’re all taught to believe. It asks: On what values was our country founded? And, because identity is created out of that narrative: Who are we, really? And who do we want to be?

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License



Kristin Moe

Kristin Moe is a Washington, D.C.-based writer and activist who is enrolled this fall at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in Portland, Maine.

Idle No More Gains Worldwide Support January 3, 2013

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, First Nations.
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Published on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 by Common Dreams

‘There has been a global assault on indigenous sovereignty’

– Beth Brogan, staff writer, www.commondreams.org


As global support for the Idle No More movement grows, a Maori women’s group in New Zealand held a rally on Dec. 28, calling for an end to “a global assault on indigenous sovereignty.” (Photo courtesy the New Zealand Herald)

The Idle No More movement continues to garner support in the United States and countries as far away as New Zealand as Attiwapiskat Chief Theresa Spence continues her plea to meet with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

A Maori women’s group held a rally on Dec. 28, calling for mobilized action, the New Zealand Herald reports.

“We feel there has been a global assault on indigenous sovereignty,” said Marama Davidson, spokeswoman for the Auckland-based Maori women’s collective Te Wharepora Hou. “This is the global call we’ve been waiting for. Now, we can join together and start looking at solutions.”

Spence, chief of the Northern Ontario First Nations, is now in her fourth week of a hunger strike as she demands to meet with Harper to discuss First Nations issues including the protection of First Nations treaty rights. During that time, she has subsisted on only fish broth and medicinal tea.

Rallies have continued throughout Canada, and into the United States, where thousands of supporters have held peaceful marches and rallies, flash mob round dances and—on Sunday evening— blocked trains, carrying 2,500 passengers, between Montreal and Toronto on Sunday.

Thousands attended an “Idle No More Flash Roundy” on Saturday at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities Daily Planet reports. Two days later, a similar protest, reportedly attended by hundreds, was held at a Walmart inn Cloquet, Minnesota.

“When I found out that C-45 had passed, and what it meant for Canadian Indians, I knew I had to do something,” Mesha Camp, who organized the protest at the Mall of America, said. “Down here, our land can’t be sold. They [the Canadian legislators] made it legal to come in and take those lands, making them unsovereign nations. They’re saying if you don’t give up sovereignty, we won’t abide by the treaties.”

Allene Ross, a Dakota from Minnesota, told the Twin Cities Daily Planet that it is important “for all tribes to stand united. We need to defend our sovereignty rights worldwide.”

About 100 demonstrators marched, carrying drums, from the Walpole Island border crossing to Algonac, Michigan, on Sunday, where they waved flags, chanted and banged on drums, then holding a ceremony in a parking lot, the Courier Press reports.

“We want all the non-native people to really listen to what the government is trying to do,” said George Henry of Walpole Island. “The government has kept things pretty quiet over the years … so we’re going to tell our own story now.”

As Chief Spence Starves, Canadians Awaken from Idleness and Remember Their Roots December 25, 2012

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Published on Monday, December 24, 2012 by the Globe & Mail

  by  Naomi Klein

I woke up just past midnight with a bolt. My six-month-old son was crying. He has a cold – the second of his short life–and his blocked nose frightens him. I was about to get up when he started snoring again. I, on the other hand, was wide awake.


Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, shown in December, 2011. (Sean Kilpatrick /THE CANADIAN PRESS)

A single thought entered my head: Chief Theresa Spence is hungry. Actually it wasn’t a thought. It was a feeling. The feeling of hunger. Lying in my dark room, I pictured the chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation lying on a pile of blankets in her teepee across from Parliament Hill, entering day 14 of her hunger strike.

I had of course been following Chief Spence’s protest and her demand to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the plight of her people and his demolition of treaty rights through omnibus legislation. I had worried about her. Supported her. Helped circulate the petitions. But now, before the distancing filters of light and reason had a chance to intervene, I felt her. The determination behind her hunger. The radicality of choosing this time of year, a time of so much stuffing – mouths, birds, stockings – to say: I am hungry. My people are hungry. So many people are hungry and homeless. Your new laws will only lead to more of this misery. Can we talk about it like human beings?

Lying there, I imagined another resolve too – Prime Minister Harper’s. Telling himself: I will not meet with her. I will not cave in to her. I will not be forced to do anything.

Mr. Harper may relent, scared of the political fallout from letting this great leader die. I dearly hope he does. I want Chief Spence to eat. But I won’t soon forget this clash between these two very different kinds of resolve, one so sealed off, closed in; the other cracked wide open, a conduit for the pain of the world.

But Chief Spence’s hunger is not just speaking to Mr. Harper. It is also speaking to all of us, telling us that the time for bitching and moaning is over. Now is the time to act, to stand strong and unbending for the people, places and principles that we love.

This message is a potent gift. So is the Idle No More movement – its name at once a firm commitment to the future, while at the same time a gentle self-criticism of the past. We did sit idly by, but no more.

The greatest blessing of all, however, is indigenous sovereignty itself. It is the huge stretches of this country that have never been ceded by war or treaty. It is the treaties signed and still recognized by our courts. If Canadians have a chance of stopping Mr. Harper’s planet-trashing plans, it will be because these legally binding rights – backed up by mass movements, court challenges, and direct action will stand in his way. All Canadians should offer our deepest thanks that our indigenous brothers and sisters have protected their land rights for all these generations, refusing to turn them into one-off payments, no matter how badly they were needed. These are the rights Mr. Harper is trying to extinguish now.

During this season of light and magic, something truly magical is spreading. There are round dances by the dollar stores. There are drums drowning out muzak in shopping malls. There are eagle feathers upstaging the fake Santas. The people whose land our founders stole and whose culture they tried to stamp out are rising up, hungry for justice. Canada’s roots are showing. And these roots will make us all stand stronger.

© 2012 Naomi Klein



Naomi Klein

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and syndicated columnist and the author of the international and New York Times bestseller The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, now out in paperback. Her earlier books include the international best-seller, No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (which has just been re-published in a special 10th Anniversary Edition); and the collection Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (2002). To read all her latest writing visit www.naomiklein.org. You can follow her on Twitter: @NaomiAKlein.

I am cut and pasting my comments from a like article just to give readers an idea of what entailed here.

What the Government has proposed is to allow the concept of “private property rights” onto Reserve lands. What they claim is that by doing so they will “Create wealth”.

What will really happen is a small group of natives will be granted title to the lands and then be able to sell the land off to developers. This is Capitalism at work where one small group gets rich and the rest get nothing.

By converting it into “Private Property” the land that could not be sold because it owned by the tribe as a whole, the land suddenly acquires “monetary value” under the capitalist system and this is pointed to as proof that they create wealth.

That the tribe in the future might have no land base at all because the “wealth creators” sold it all off for personal gain to someone wanting to build ski lodges or condo’s is of no concern to the Government. (Added to that allowing the corporation to then pollute the land they now own at will thus removing all those treaty impediments to more tar sand development or pipeline construction)

No clearer example exists.

Private property is theft.

  • ceti

    NAFTA did that to the indigenous communities of Mexico. Harper’s stealth final solution for Aboriginal peoples dovetails well with his authoritarianism, corporatism, neo-conservativism and arch-Zionism. It is all part of the one big nasty ideology of 21st century fascism as a North American response to the 21st century socialism of South America (where incidentally, the poorest, most exploited heart of the American continent is again beating strong due to the efforts of the Morales government with the support of Chavez and Correa).

  • Deborah R. Martin

    Love Canada’s First Nations! Believe in Canada, the native one. http://www.MillionaireProjects…

  • giovannalepore

    When a concept exists which claims the very Earth is a commodity to be exploited and commodified all other crimes follow. What madness to think that that which we did not create somehow can belong to some particular individual when the reverse is true: People belong to the Earth and not the other way around. Western thinking is dangerous in its immaturity.

  • George Washington

    Thank you for your excellent insights.

  • rtdrury

    No, private property is not theft.  Allowing an elite few to own most/all property IS THEFT.  Liberalism teaches us to blame “things” instead of blaming elites and their rotten egos and evil intentions.  Liberals serve master this way. It’s very likely that the optimum system consists of private property on a very small scale, to allow for owning specialized tools for creative work.  But strong limits on how far that can go.  Likewise, elitism is needed in the sense that certain highly productive “fountainheads” can benefit the society as a whole, but again, strong limits on how far that can go.  In other words, keep the human ego on a VERY short leash.  But don’t blame the idea, don’t blame the tool, don’t blame the system.  Blame the sociopath elites with their rotten egos and evil intentions.


  • Gabriele Drozdowski

    rtdrury – you seem to have missed the point.  Individual land ownership is a large part of the cause of the problem, as it divides people, and encourages only caring about their small portion, whereas communal land ownership encourages larger scale thinking (i.e. seven generations ahead), the health of not just one parcel, but the local environment.  Yes, people still can have their own houses and land, but if individuals degrade the land or abuse it, the community as a whole can address this.  A fragmented populace of individual owners is powerless to stop the destruction by the Elite, as it is clear that the courts or justice systems often get corrupted as well.

  • Mary McCurnin


  • glen taves

    We’re Idle No More empirePie  Dec 22cnd, 2012

    We’re Idle no more we’ve been conned too many times before so I’ll say it once more we’re idle no no more

    we’ve been conned by the right we’ve been conned by the left we’ve been rounded up poisoned and left bereft

    Now corporate Harper has a new plan for us we’re all under the bus with this omnibus bill to poison our water for short term gain for they’ve sold our soul to the corporate store

    they have pallets of cash a forty five thousand million dollar stash for a first strike jet we don’t need for an empire that don’t lead the apple pie empire of bad seed

    we’ve been conned by the right, left and middle too we’ve been rounded up poisoned and left bereft so Join hands in a circle of strength

    dance to the east dance to the west

    dance to the south dance to the north

    for we’re Idle no more for we’re Idle no more for we’re Idle no more

  • Qimountain

    I nominate Chief Spence for the Nobel Peace prize on behalf of Mother Earth. Hell, if Obama can get the award, why not a authentic hero?

  • galen066

    Here’s a hint for those of you who are not living in Canada who post on CD, about Stevie harper: He’s a psychopath.

    Harper will let Chief Spence starve herself to death. And he won’t give a tin-plated damn. He refuses to listen to anyone who is not either: A) a Corporate bagman, or B) a boot-licking sycophant. He has all but openly mocked Chief Spence as being a manipulative cry-baby.

    Harper has a long and well documented history of being possessed of a virulent, violent bias and racist view of Canada’s native peoples, pretty much along the lines of “Damn, dirty drunken injuns oughta just go and die.”

  • theoldgoat

    Intercontinental Cry is compiling videos and links that speak to the conversation about and to better understand history, the intense actions by corporations and government around the world to cut off indigenous rights to their traditional lands, culture, ways of being, stewardwship of resources and future generations right to determine their own sustainable models of development.


  • Gabriele Drozdowski

    Yes, Intercontinental Cry is a great resource for documentation on indigenous lands and rights abuses happening across the globe.

  • scrufmuffin

    This episode would do as a  a new chapter in an updated, “Shock Doctrine”; right in line with  the usual neo-con tricks so well documented. This scheme sounds exactly like what happened to Russia under Boris Yeltsin”s privatization policies with the help and advice of US neo-con advisors, who also became very rich. The result was seven billionaire oligarchs and the the Russian poverty rate hitting 50 % as Russia’s immense socialized resources and enterprises were sold off at below bargain rates and the economy collapsed.  Credit Bill Clinton for that one, he sent the “experts”;  Milton Freeman  and the Chicago School strike again. See Janine Wedel, The Shadow Elite for a thorough description.

  • pdxpress

    Portland is with you


  • HenryWallace2012

    Good story, gal! Love Canada’s First Nations! Believe in Canada, the native one.

  • HenryWallace2012

    Naomi Klein does and I do. Just let’s do it and have a better world starting with Canada. In the USA we can believe in our First and founding people.

  • wildcarrots

    Why should anyone believe in Canada’s first nations?

  • Gabriele Drozdowski


  • Gabriele Drozdowski

    Lack of, or under education about indigenous people is a serious flaw in our Western society.  The conquering nations have worked hard at keeping it that way.

  • wildcarrots

    Gabriele. Henry Wallace responds to most indigenous issues with the same response, ” I believe in  america or canada the native one.”  It was a reasonable question, why do you believe in the native america, as in why do you always say that without ever saying why.  Yes, that lack of education works both ways.

  • galen066

    Well that and cultural and actual genocide of Canada’s natives…

  • Suspiria_de_profundis

    I am afraid the day the Cultural Genocide of Our First nations people will be complete is when their lands and tribal holdings turned into “private property” that can be bought and sold.

    Aurora borealis The icy sky at night Paddles cut the water In a long and hurried flight From the white man to the fields of green And the homeland we’ve never seen.

    They killed us in our tepee And they cut our women down They might have left some babies Cryin’ on the ground But the firesticks and the wagons come And the night falls on the setting sun.

    They massacred the buffalo Kitty corner from the bank The taxis run across my feet And my eyes have turned to blanks In my little box at the top of the stairs With my Indian rug and a pipe to share.

    I wish a was a trapper I would give thousand pelts To sleep with Pocahontas And find out how she felt In the mornin’ on the fields of green In the homeland we’ve never seen.

    And maybe Marlon Brando Will be there by the fire We’ll sit and talk of Hollywood And the good things there for hire And the Astrodome and the first tepee Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me Marlon Brando, Pocahontas and me Pocahontas.

    (Neil Young)

  • wildcarrots

    And how about you, how do you stand in solidarity with Native people?

  • giovannalepore

    In the midst of despair a ray of hope: The indigenous peoples of our common home planet are on the rise and if any peoples exist who understand what needs doing it is them. Solidarity!

  • rtdrury

    Actually fasting is healthy, up to around 30 days.  Do your body good, whack the franken-food industry, and scare the politicians all in one fell swoop.


  • galen066

    There is a MASSIVE difference between fasting (which means limited *intake* of food) and a Hunger Strike (which is voluntarily starving yourself to death if necessary to make a point).

    Spence is on a Hunger Strike, and I have the very bad feeling she is going to become Harper’s ‘Bobby Sands’.

  • David

    When is the last time you fasted for 30 days?  What were the benefits?

  • HenryWallace2012

    Try hung parlament procedure which would have prevented the Con servatives from getting into government in the first place. Virtually every other parliamentary system has it. It works.

  • galen066

    Too bad Harper views Parliamentary procedure as an impediment to the looting of the nation’s economy and resources.

  • JoeTWallace

    You’ll want to get started.

  • itsthethird

    Happy Holidays a simple truth:

    When we negate the ego (world) we negate the world pain, suffering, oppression etc…and heal ourselves and the world.

  • JoeTWallace

    Best wishes to indigenous peoples and their common-sense ethic of stewardship and sustainability.

  • disqus_7ONuyIuYuR

    Stephen Harper was elected with 38% of the vote because Canada has two strong parties (plus the Green Party, which elected  its first member of parliament) to the left of Harper, which split the vote.  The only answer is to change to a proportional, or at least an instant-runoff, system.

  • Yunzer

    Or, not even anything that fancy.  Just require regular runoffs in every riding that didn’t get a 50%+1.  This would have prevented the current Canadian govt.

  • HenryWallace2012

    I firmly believe Canada will throw out the Con servative or Tories at the next federal election.

  • frigate

    I don’t understand how after our Bushite catastrophe and other conservative disasters worldwide, Canadians could have voted for a conservative Prime Minister.

  • Mary McCurnin

    Maybe the election was hacked and stolen. In my gut I feel this has been going on for decaded in the USA.

  • frigate

    it seems that the only way conservatives can win is to steal elections.

  • hamster99

    “Conservatives”. What a ridiculous name for people who only want to conserve the right to destroy everything in the name of profit.

  • Rich Smith

    They used to be called reactionary.   Words are potentially so powerful yet rarely used to reflect that power.  Call it as you see it rather than using words that others foist upon you.

  • galen066

    There is a growing amount of evidence that the last Federal Canadian election was tampered with in favor of Harper.

  • Shizel

    I woke up the other night hungry. I ate something and went to go sleep. But, something was gnawing at me. I knew enough people didn’t care enough to stop Harper and I wished I was wrong. It’s not the beginning, it’s the end. This single protest won’t be the spark. Yawn! And if it were, it would be too little too late even if we did miraculously stop the Canadian tar sands… too skeptical to believe… z-z-z-z…

  • wildcarrots

    wow, you are very brave to accept your fate, but one day you will still have to stand up.

  • Shizel

    No, I’m afraid standing up never goes as planned. It will cause Canadians to split as never before. It won’t be pretty.

  • David

    I’d rather it not be pretty and be right, than be uglier yet in silence.

  • wildcarrots

    That is a good reply.  Some day we will all have to stand up and that will be a good day.

  • windship

    First Nations have a ten thousand year history in Canada, which is a Crown Confederation less than 150 years old. Canada is a Royal Occupation with far less historical legitimacy than Israel’s. Is Queen Elizabeth staying up at night worrying about Chief Spence? Or will she make the usual Royal Proclamation from the gilded tower: “Let them eat cake!”

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Idle No More: Women Rising to Lead When it’s Needed Most December 24, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Canada, First Nations, Occupy Wall Street Movement, Women.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Published on Monday, December 24, 2012 by rabble.ca

Idle No More: Women Rising to Lead When it’s Needed Most

  by Muna Mire

Chief Theresa Spence is now on Day 13 of her hunger strike. Too weak to leave the teepee she is living in on Victoria Island, a mere stone’s throw from Parliament, she called for a round dance yesterday at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Prime Minister Harper’s residence.


Image: Aaron Paquette

Throughout the duration of her hunger strike, Harper has maintained a chilly silence around the grassroots Indigenous movement now widely known as Idle No More, taking to Twitter instead to share his jokes about bacon with the Canadian electorate. What started as a string of emails between four Saskatchewan women back in November in protest of Bill C-45 eventually became a hashtag on social media, snowballing over time into a global movement for Indigenous rights.

Chief Spence is starving herself for her home community of Attawapiskat where there is a dire housing crisis, but more broadly for all Indigenous peoples in Canada, many of whom have rallied around her. Spence is asking for a meeting with the Prime Minister, Governor General and other leaders, and will fast until she gets it.

Spence began her fast just as the grassroots movement began to gather steam, and has said that she is “not afraid to die” for her people, taking their lead on non-violent direct action. In turn, Indigenous people have taken their lead from her. Indigenous and non-Indigenous people alike have started hunger strikes in solidarity. Across Canada and throughout the world, peaceful demonstrations have disrupted the normal order of things this winter.

On Friday, the winter solstice saw unprecedented protest action. Supporters of the movement staged solidarity demonstrations from as far away as London, England, Los Angeles and Egypt. In Canada, major thoroughfares were shut down and flash mobs took over malls and public spaces as protestors performed traditional round dances in support of the movement.

In Edmonton, protestors blocked downtown streets as they marched from Walterdale Bridge over to Canada Place, holding round dances in the middle of Jasper Avenue and in Churchill Square. Organizers at the rally in Churchill Square lauded protestors for showing up to march despite -20 C temperatures, noting that “this was nothing compared to what the ancestors went through.”

“That’s what this is about. Our treaties and the lack of recognition that Canada and the Harper government is giving to our treaties. Our treaties are strong, they have international recognition and we have to remember that. They aren’t just written documents, they are a living spirit. We have to stand strong, this is the time for us to set our agenda, for us to stand proud. For us to say no. Enough is enough. We will not let this government unilaterally impose legislation on us, especially when it affects our lands, our waters and all the living things that give us life and that we use to sustain ourselves as indigenous people,” said one of the organizers of yesterday’s rally, Janice Makokis, a lawyer from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation.

“We’re here to also support Chief Theresa Spence as she has gone on a hunger strike, this is her eleventh day. And she’s not only doing that for her community, she’s doing that for us. As a woman, and as women who started this movement, we must continue to recognize women and stand proud with them,” she added.

The role played by women leaders and organizers of the movement was underscored many times during the rally. Speakers called on women to continue leading the movement they started in the name of Indigenous self determination and climate justice.

“There is an old prophecy that said when the world needed it most, the women would rise to lead us. I see that happening right now. This is a woman initiated movement and you can feel the difference in it,” says Aaron Paquette, a First Nations artist and writer, who has been involved with the movement since its inception. Paquette is responsible for much of the art that has come to graphically represent the movement, especially through social media.

Art has also played an important role in the movement, inspiring people to join a growing collective of protestors and allowing those protestors to imagine a different future for indigenous peoples in Canada.

“I feel that being an artist as an Indigenous person is different from the common understanding. While I create for the joy of it, I also feel a responsibility to use my art to benefit my community, to speak to them, to share, so that we can grow together,” says Paquette.

Paquette sees the timing of the movement as representative of its character. For him, the solstice day of action was reflective of what indigenous people have been through, in Canada and across the globe.

“This is an organic movement. There was no grand strategy, it just happened. It has come now because it’s necessary. Symbolically, the winter solstice marks the end of a long night and the welcoming of light [and] renewal. There is a long road ahead before the spring. The days will get colder, the struggle will not be easy. But the sun gets stronger and so do we,” Paquette said.

Paquette’s vision for the future of the movement includes solidarity from settlers on Turtle Island. Many nonindigenous people have already joined the movement, which is growing by the day.

“Our nations are rising. We are extending our hand to everyone to join us. Enter the hoop and be welcome. Finally do something that makes you happy instead of afraid, that empowers you instead of making you feel impotent, that feels right and makes you proud to be human,” Paquette offers.

Paquette imagines the future of the movement as one of joyful resistance leading to genuine change at the community level. He believes the time has come to transform the way we think about climate justice and the environment.

“Ultimately, I would like to see Idle No More fundamentally transform the way we look at Mother Earth and our role in our communities. I would like to see the maturing of the human race. I would like to see all the people discard their anger and their fear and be happy.”

Organizers at yesterday’s rally announced that Mikisew Cree First Nation Chief Steve Courtoreille told Parliament earlier that same day his nation would be launching a legal challenge to Bill C-45. He invited other First Nations leaders to join him in doing so. The Prime Minister’s silence has not deterred Spence, Paquette and other movement leaders, who are determined to see their goals met.

“Sounds like a long shot, but we’re used to that. We don’t think in quarterly statements and yearly projections. We think in terms of generations,” Paquette said.

© 2012 Muna Mire

Muna Mire recently completed an internship with rabble’s podcast network and is a student in her final year at the University of Toronto where she is currently completing an Honours B.A. in English, Political Science and Sociology.