By: Chris Burke
There’s no sense in dancing around this one, as the reaction to the Idle No More protests have demonstrated, Canadians can be incredibly racist. The Idle No More protest, along with the hunger-strike of Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Spence, has brought out the worst in Canadians. Perhaps it should be no surprise given that this nation was built on the oppression of an indigenous population. It’s best if the populace thinks that the grievances of the people currently protesting can be blamed on a character flaw of those people rather than a problem with how the state treats those people.
Take this recent discussion thread over on Reddit which is filled with Canadians essentially complaining about being accused of racism, and then turning around and being racist. Or this recent article in the National Post which tries to pin the blame for financial mismanagement in Attawapiskat on the band despite evidence to the contrary before going on to accuse First Nations of always wanting more.
By: Chris Burke
One of these days I’m going to have to write a piece on the role social media plays in protest movements. Sure many words have already been dedicated to that subject, but as someone who has been using social media to advance his own ideas the subject can’t be ignored. Today, however, I want to draw the attention of 1837’s readers towards the latest movement that owes, at least part of, its growth to social media. Idle No More.
First, a brief history lesson. Idle No More started back in October as a reaction to Bill C-45.
Idle No More began with 4 ladies; Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon & Sheelah McLean who felt it was urgent to act on current and upcoming legislation that not only affects our First Nations people but the rest of Canada’s citizens, lands and waters (Source)
The movement is a direct to response to actions of a colonial government seeking to impose laws on the Indigenous people who have rightful claim to this land, and is doing so without the consent of those people. Idle No More is by no means, of course, the first time we have laid witness to Indigenous resistance. It is, however, one of the more visible movements in recent memory. Resistance has been going on since the first settlers came, and the colonial state of Canada was established. From the Trudeau government; up to the current government under Stephen Harper Liberal, resistance has always been here. Liberal or Conservative (and perhaps NDP someday soon), Indigenous people have resisted the efforts of a colonial government seeking to control the land, and resources, and oppress a people.