One year after Idle No More began, aboriginal activists and leaders in Manitoba say they — and the movement itself — are not going anywhere.
Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the nationwide grassroots movement, which began as a protest against federal legislation that organizers said would erode indigenous rights and hurt the environment.
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In Ottawa, Grand Chief Derek Nepinak of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs joined protesters as they marched from Victoria Island to Parliament Hill on Tuesday to oppose what they call the government's 'unilateral' approach to First Nations education.
'How are we doing? We're still here.' - Leah Gazan
The group that gathered on Parliament Hill on Tuesday was considerably smaller than the turnout at many Idle No More events across the country last year.
"There has to be diversity in our approach," Nepinak told reporters.
"It can't be just about rallies and marching on the streets. We've got to sit down, we've got to start thinking these things out."
There haven't been as many protests and marches compared to a year ago because much of the activism has gone underground, said Leah Gazan, who has been a key player in Winnipeg's Idle No More movement.
"Idle No More is kind of the newest, most up-to-date version of an over 500-year resistance. So how are we doing? We're still here," she said.
"For so long, you know, indigenous people in this country have been fighting alone, and I've never seen so many allies come out in support."
Sylvia McAdam, one of four Saskatchewan women who started Idle No More, said the movement has brought people together and even changed lives.
"It was the young people coming up to me and the other founders and other organizers and telling us that Idle No More changed their life," she said.