Sunday, January 6, 2013 | Categories: Episodes
Idle No More protesters in Winnipeg
Yesterday I marched over the Peace Bridge in support of Idle No More. As far as disrupting traffic, most of the traffic that did drive by beeped their horns in support and waved (many had the "what the heck" looks on their faces) and no doubt learned what the rally was about when they turned on the news. If anything, the Idle No More movement has caught the attention of the media, Canadians and even world wide. I myself am not native,and support this movement, because we are all Canadians. And regardless of whether you believe that our First Nations People got basically screwed over with treaty rights, etc. (like many of us do), or there has been too much financial support from the government. The Harper government is the one major problem here.
Not only should Harper be accountable for the appointment of funds allocated to any reservations, but also to our environment. As long as Harper continues to sell our natural resources to other countries (most recently China), and encourage the development of pipelines through our land and water. Most Canadians are too complacent to get involved, and it won't be until a pipeline shows up in their back yard, or their drinking water is contaminated that they'll wake up, and then I'm afraid it will be too late. I will continue to support Idle No More, the Occupy movements and any other worthwhile opponent to our greedy government.
Yesterday I took part in a peaceful slow down organized by Idle No More on Highway 1 east of Regina. I am a non-Aboriginal canadian. Idle No More gives me hope. I have written many letters to the Conservative government over the past few years in regards to the omnibus Bill C-10 (where I especially object to the the shortsighted enthusiasm for punishment ahead of rehabilitation), and also C-45 (in particular the navigable waters act). I have been unhappy with their responses. These large omnibus bills limit the opportunity for debate and discussion. It feels like the Conservatives are ramming things through. It feels like they are not listening.
I have the privilege of living close to a number of First Nations and counting many Indigenous people as friends and neighbours. Their hospitality to my family has been truly wonderful. As I slowly learn about the treaties, it is clear to me that Canada has not historically lived up to our treaty responsibilities. Every day, I am aware of the benefits in my life of being a "treaty person". I am also acutely aware that the treaties have not benefitted all Canadians in the same way. First Nations people have lost a great deal since we arrived. The Conservative government needs to act honourably as a treaty partner, and this begins with listening and consultation. Like many who support Idle No More, I am deeply concerned about the wholesale opening up of our lands and waters by this government.
Yesterday, many Canadian who drove by honked and waved enthusiastically. Others (fewer, thankfully) gave us the finger and yelled "get a job". We were instructed to wave more and smile more broadly and that's what we did. I am grateful to the Idle No More movement for its leadership and vision. I believe that as canadians we stand to learn a lot from the wisdom being offered. I am hopeful and grateful.
If First Nations feel that the government was contravening treaty rights then they should have turned to legal court action against the government instead of resorting to protests and blockades. Inconveniencing citizens is not the best method to garnering public support. The Cree Nation in Northern Quebec have successfully demonstrated that using the legal system in defense of treaty rights is an effective approach. The multi-billion dollar agreement Paix-des-Braves signed in 2002 between Canada, Quebec and the Cree Nation was the result of decades of court battles against government violation of treaty rights and obligations. This movement was effective in raising awareness to the omnibus bill but, unfortunately, no concrete recommendations or detailed plans came from the Idle No More organizers except vague notions of sovereignty and talks of ancient prophecies. Soon will the protesters realize after returning to the bench thinking their work is done that the road ahead is long and change does not come easily.
Unfortunately every time the Harper government buries something in a budget bill, it is done to circumvent all democratic principles. All blockades are therefore perfectly legal, to protect our country. Unfortunately Chief Spence is the only Canadian that protests about the government lifting all protections of our waters from coast to coast. Nobody can live without clean water longer than two weeks no matter how much money the resource industries produce, poisoning our rivers and lakes.
I'm happy to see this movement take hold, across the country and even internationally. The federal government does not seem to believe in consultation with its citizens, and especially with the First Nations, but prefers to continue in the bogged-down bureaucratic process that treats First Nations as colonialists rather than founding nations of this country. I do not think this government will go to the Friday meeting in good faith, and more will have to be done to show that it really is serious in listening to the serious concerns regarding our environment especially our waterways and lakes. I applaud Chief Spence.
Being of Austrian heritage, I have to ask: Why do the First Nations people insist on living in the past? Throughout history, many nations have lost their territory, the borders resolved by treaty. Those treaties have often been unfair. Austria had a large chunk of Europe until 1918, which is more recent than any treaty Canada has with the Natives. Should Austria get its empire back? Should Germany get Prussia back? The Idle should get productive.
I am very proud and support the First Nations people for taking this action. As Sheila Fraser suggested in May, 2011 we need a review of First Nations programs as First Nations conditions had worsened in her ten-year term as Auditor General. The Harper government is making conditions worse! There is a disconnect with the appalling circumstances that First Nations are struggling to exist in. I am ashamed as a Canadian. Learn the real history. History is written by the so called winners. Thank you for highlighting this important issue.
It's painful to try to listen to today's broadcast on the recent Aboriginal protest. We continue to hear people basically saying "why dont they act like us" without taking the effort to understand the historical complexity of the issues. Yet at the same time feeling priviledged to pontificate on their uninformed assumptions.
I believe that we diminish our humanity by the same amount that we diminish the humanity of another and that it is, with our recognition of the humanity of the other, that we regain ours. I also believe that most people are racist, that we are educated into racism and that we can enlighten ourselves out of it.
We, as a nation have such an opportunity now by giving unconditional support to idle no more. I say unconditional because that acknowledges their sovereignty and our willingness to relate to them and their land, as we relate to a sovereign and equal people. They started their action by using savvy, intelligence and elegance rather than brute force. They have us bested so far.
This government (and all prior ones) would rather use brute force than recognize the full humanity and sovereignty of First Nations who would be self ruled and have complete and sovereign control of their traditional lands. Idle No More give us the opportunity to fully recognize First Nation sovereignty and repeal the Indian act and purge ourselves of this malevolent legislation designed to implement and supervise cultural, if not physical, genocide. The Indian Act is a blight on our nation, and a diminishment of our humanity.
Whaletown, British Columbia
The chiefs are in my opinion the one-per-centers of the First Nations people - greedy people who are compensated out of all proportion given the little value the native people derive from their leadership. If the Idle no more movement can overthrow the current one-per-centers and replace them with members eager to improve things by delivering value - but I worry that a co-opting between the government and the chiefs exists.
I am getting frustrated with the continued uneducated babble that keeps being repeated when most is based on conjecture at best, clearly not on fact. The continued personal attacks on Chief Spence are not addressing the concerns of Chief Spence. They follow on the attack ads that the Conservatives have been promulgating. If you look at the truth that is known about the reserve of Chief Spence, it is clear. There are no more problems with the finances than any other organization.
The Idle No More is not about one issue, it is simply the tipping point for the Aboriginal peoples of this country. This government and somewhat previous governments have not done what is important to the people of this country. They are allowing and in some cases cheering for the trashing of the air, water and land. They are liquidating our natural assets which in combination will destroy any vestige of what supports the people in this country.
This is the beginning of a fundamental push back by the people of Canada against the direction taken by Harper and others. It is my hope that this will be just the beginning and will fundamentally change the direction we are going.
I'm a retired professional and a 55 year participant in the evolving Democracy called Canada. Starting with the Federal Government and ending at my local Town Council I'm increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the inability of elected representatives to identify and deal with real problems such as daycare, income inequality, other than the prospects of their individual reelection, but I digress.
Canadian citizens with a native ancestry are as capable of running their affairs as any of the rest of us. As a young man I lived and worked with the Cree in Central Labrador. There are unresolved promises made through Treaties to be dealt with, compensation for past abuses to be established, and Constitutional Amendments to be established to define the division of powers and responsibilities between the respective governments.
The Kelowna Accord, established by the Liberals through 18 months of negotiation across Canada, dealt with Native Canadian Treaty Issues including education, living conditions, etc and was immediately scrapped by the Harper Government when it first came to power.
It's now more that 200 years that many of these questions remain unaddressed. Why? Perhaps King Harper should abandon his autocratic form of rule and instead act as a democratically elected Prime Minister, consult with others including Parliament, and get the job done!
I think that the Idle No More movement is long overdue. The conditions under which First Nations people are living is our country's greatest shame. How we have managed to continue this oppression without worldwide condemnation is a mystery to me. The Idle No More movement has brought a spotlight to the deplorable conditions under which First Nations people in Canada are living under. I approve of the tactics being used and personally think that First Nations are showing restraint considering that their human rights are being violated,
What's it going to take for us to make a change?
The Idle No More movement comes at a critical moment in our country's history. Last year the Truth and Reconciliation tribunals held all over the country carried with it the stories of those who survived the genocidal assimilation methods used at Indian residential schools.
It is time now to move beyond talking. We as Canadians must take responsibility for our hand in the continued oppression of the First Peoples. We must let our government know that First Nations issues are paramount point and should be dealt with immediately.
The right to self-determination, to control their own lands and to be compensated for the lands that our governments took and never paid for - is not much to ask for.
Duncan, British Columbia.
Your first speaker said there were some "exciting projects developing" etc. I question what he considers "exciting"? Is that the proposed pipeline(s)? One of the issues with both Idle no More, and other groups such as Occupy, is the governments selling of our land for the purpose of the mighty dollar and the damage and long terms effects some of these "Projects" will do to our environment.
It is time for all Canadians to stand up and protest against our Harper government, instead of complaining about the inconvenience of a traffic slowdown during the protests. Harper just gave millions of dollars to Ford. Is he going to be follow where those dollars go---is the money going towards producing a more energy efficient car? No one seems to be questioning that money. No one followed to see who along the way benefited. I would imagine that there were a few government employees that reaped some of the profit.
I am ashamed of the lack of support that our First Nations people are getting, as well as when the Occupy movement was happening.
The paternalistic attitude about "holding their hands all the time" and the implication that tax dollars are pouring into reserves and being mismanaged is typical of the ignorance many Canadians have toward First Nations.
Cumberland, British Columbia
The conflict is the tension of whether there are two orders of government in canada-federal and provincial- or three-adding first nations or aboriginal peoples\native. The deep-rooted cause is a world-view perspective on the aborignal side of the spiritual oneness of all creation to protect mother earth as opposed to a materialism view of exploitation of natural resources. The true intent is no one on the planet should sit idle.
I had the honor to be among the Mohawks in Akwesasne and in a post-Oka debrief (documented in part in my 2010 book "Is Everyone at the Table?") In 1990. One of their elders taught "each culture is like a flower and one day the world should be a beautiful bouquet".
This is at the heart of the entire dialogue.
Lord Justice Denning in a Court ruling in England when First Nations went to London (when that phrase was coined in their challenge to the new 1982 Constitution Act), denied their claim that the Crown represented by the Queen and her agent in Canada the Governor General have control and responsibility but the Judge whose words should be read again imposed on Canada a continuation as a successor agent to perform its fiduciary duty under the treaties; the Judge said trust was key but it was not there then the rule of law must prevail, both ways.
I am sure by now your show referred to the tens of millions of dollars five year royal commission on these issues with 440 recommendations in 4,000 pages. Unless there is a real Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process put in place for post-summit next week or 'after all is said and done, much is said and little is done".
I think that why things aren't working is because governments - both provincial and federal, and especially the Harper cons are constantly trying to impose solutions. We all need to recognize that we are dealing with equals, not children. We all need to realize, also, that First Nations is not a category like English Canadians or French Canadians. There are many nations within Canada and there are no one size fits all solutions. Treating each other with respect and learning about each other would be a good first start. I hope Mr. Harper is capable of it. Apology aside, he's shown little evidence of it.
I am not Aboriginal, but I am 100% in support of the INM movement. I am excited about the possibility of - finally - meaningful change. The more I have learned about issues in Canada the more ashamed I have become to BE Canadian - 600+ missing and murdered Aboriginal women in Canada and this government had the audacity to cancel Sisters in Spirit funding!? And no outrage from Canadians?
The media makes a big fuss over missing white people, and waits a month or more to mention it when Aboriginal people go missing. And makes a huge fuss about suicides of Canadian youth but rarely bothers to mention the truly alarming rates of suicide among Aboriginal populations. What IS there to be proud about, exactly?
22% less funding for education for Aboriginal children?
Far too many communities without clean water, housing, even schools?
Apologizing for residential schools and then shipping Aboriginal people off to prison at alarming rates?
C-45 and its failure to consult with the people to whom we have an obligation to consult?
The acceptance, by so many Canadians, of overt racism towards Aboriginal people?
I could go on and on ....