A dozen protesters with Idle No More Kingston faced off with police in front of City Hall to express their dismay with Canada’s record of mistreatment of Indigenous Peoples. (Meghan Balogh/The Whig-Standard/Postmedia Network)
Protesters under the banner of Idle No More Kingston blocked the Canada Day People Parade on Sunday in front of City Hall.
Approximately one dozen protesters stood in the street as the parade approached, holding signs that read “151 years of genocide,” “settler colonialism is a crime,” “Justice for Colten,” and “Tina, Jon, Colten, Jordon, Lillian. Canada kills.”
One protester wore a British flag as a cape with the words “European colonialism” written across it.
Some members of the several-hundred-strong Canada Day Civic Ceremony crowd booed the protesters as they resisted police and refused to clear the roadway.
Kingston Police asked protesters to move several times before physically pushing them down the street, using officers on foot, on bicycle and on horseback.
Protester Krista Flute, who is very active in the Idle No More Kingston movement, was arrested at the scene.
Evelyna Ekoko-Kay is one of the protesters who took part in the demonstration in front of City Hall. She and a handful of others stayed after being removed from the ceremony site and handed out pamphlets to anyone interested on the corner afterward.
Ekoko-Kay said she is not Indigenous herself but is mixed race, with one parent an immigrant and the other a colonist. She said she stands in solidarity with Indigenous people in Canada.
“I think it’s important that non-Indigenous people align ourselves with Indigenous struggle,” she said.
“Canada is a nation founded on the genocide of Indigenous people, and it’s an ongoing genocide. In this case, genocide is in the form of residential schools, in the form of the ’60s scoop when children were taken from their homes and put in foster care and separated from their culture. It’s ongoing now, and in fact today, Indigenous youth are taken at a higher rate than they were at the height of the residential school system, to the point where over 50 per cent of children in foster care are Indigenous, even though that’s only about eight per cent of the population.”
According to Ekoko-Kay, 47 per cent of boys and 50 per cent of girls in juvenile detention are Indigenous.
“Indigenous people are being killed every day, whether we’re talking about missing and murdered Indigenous women, people killed by police or white vigilantes. Their killers are consistently acquitted.”
Ekoko-Kay said she feels people need to hear the message of Indigenous people who have been marginalized, especially on Canada Day.
“When people celebrate Canada Day, whether or not they are doing it maliciously or whether or not they believe that Indigenous people deserve this, they are still helping to uphold that state and helping to celebrate it, and erase the realities of settler colonialism, which is an ongoing problem,” Ekoko-Kay said. “We wanted to create a counternarrative at this protest, this rally, because otherwise the only voices being heard are those that agree with the state and are wiling to fall in line. If that’s the case, then no one will ever know about any of these things, and that’s not acceptable. People’s lives are being taken every day. There’s no time to wait.
“If we don’t take a stand, even if we’re just a small group of people, then nothing will ever change.”
Blockade at Ontario and Manitoba border. Photo: Red Power Media
Red Power Media | June 29, 2017
For immediate release
On, June 30th, 2017, First Nations activists from Winnipeg will be shutting down a portion of the TransCanada Highway to protest the Canadian government and bring awareness to the youth suicide crisis in First Nations communities as well to the deaths of several indigenous youth in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Members of the American Indian Movement, Urban Warrior Alliance and Idle No More will be taking part in a pipe ceremony for youth, followed by a blockade of the highway.
Representatives from groups taking part are demanding the Liberal government increase the availability of mental health services on reserves and provide culturally appropriate resources for youth including in Manitoba. Inadequate health-care services, the loss of cultural identity and lack of proper housing are key factors contributing to the high rates of suicide and mental illness among indigenous peoples. Recently in Ontario, three 12 year old girls died by suicide at Wapekeka First Nation, located about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. The latest one happened June 13th when a pre-teen girl hung herself.
The deaths of several Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay have also raised concerns about racism against Indigenous people and inadequate police investigations. First Nations leaders have expressed their lack of faith in Thunder Bay police. The York Regional Police service have been requested to investigate the deaths of Josiah Begg, 14, and Tammy Keeash, 17, found dead in McIntyre River in May. Ten indigenous people have been found dead in Thunder Bay, since 2000. Seven were First Nations students who died between 2000 and 2011 while attending high school in the Thunder Bay, hundreds of kilometres away from their remote communities where access to education is limited. Organizers of Fridays protest would like to see improvement in First Nations education and increase in funding for schooling on reserves.
Activists are requesting the RCMP respect their right to protest. They plan to start their demonstration around 12 pm just east of Winnipeg near Deacon’s corner. A press conference will also take place at that time. Activists are planning to hand out information to motorists and collect signatures on a petition calling for immediate action from the minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, Carolyn Bennet, as well as the Minister of Health Jane Philpott.
For the first time in nine days, people from a group called #OccupyINAC emerge from Toronto’s Indigenous and Northern Affairs office. (Sakura Saunders/Twitter)
CBC News Posted: Apr 21, 2016
#OccupyINAC protests ‘same energy’ as Idle No More, says Cree lawyer who was key figure in movement
On Thursday, demonstrators left the Toronto office of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, nine days after they took it over and sparked a protest that has spread across the country.
“The time has come for us to go back to our families and loved ones, and to come out and thank our supporters. Without you, this week of awareness that has spread across the land may never have happened,” read a statement from a group called #OccupyINAC, who say they were directed to leave by youth from Attawapiskat.
But while the occupation in Toronto has ended, groups are still inside buildings in Winnipeg and Vancouver — and a key figure in Idle No More sees similarities to that movement.
“People felt all of the same energy with [as Idle No More]. This need to do something, this need to say something, this need to demonstrate that they exist. We exist. And we are not going to let those things happen and be silent about it,” said Tanya Kappo, a Cree lawyer from Alberta who was involved in Idle No More from its earliest days.
The #OccupyINAC protesters are demanding that Ottawa do more to help Indigenous communities like Attawapiskat, Ont., and Pimicikamak, Man., which have seen multiple suicide attempts in recent months.
Protesters are also camped outside INAC’s Regina office, while ongoing demonstrations keep the department’s Gatineau office closed to the public.
“Due to exceptional circumstances,” those offices are inaccessible to the public but remain operational, the department said on its website.
All other INAC regional offices and business centres are open for regular business.
‘Great sign of support’
Kappo says she supports the #OccupyINAC protests because it was sparked by concern between Indigenous communities.
“The occupation, in my mind, became a great sign of support to people in Attawapiskat,” she said.
“This is a way of getting the message out there in a peaceful way, that comes from a place of support and caring.”
But while Idle No More eventually spread across the country and saw thousands of people join rallies and ‘flash mob round dances,’ so far #OccupyINAC only involves a few dozen on the ground, and many messages of support on social media.
In British Columbia, a group with a core of three women and their children have been occupying INAC’s downtown Vancouver office since Monday.
A group lead by Indigenous women have taken over INAC’s Vancouver office, in solidarity with protests happening across the country. (OccupyINAC/Twitter)
“The children of Attawapiskat amplified the cries of all Indigenous children across Canada and OccupyINAC-Vancouver stand in solidarity with them,” the group said in a statement posted on social media.
Organizers said that they want a meeting with federal Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly. They also want funding restored to Cultural Connections for Aboriginal Youth, which was redirected for job training programs under the Harper government. The fund used to support cultural activities for Indigenous youth, mainly through friendship centres.
“Our main goal is to exit INAC with a victory dance,” the statement reads.
Solidarity in Saskatchewan
A fence that had been erected in front of INAC’s Regina building on Tuesday morning has since come down.
The office itself is still closed, but the small group of protesters who are camping outside the building cheered as the fence was taken down Wednesday afternoon.
Protesters in Regina camp out in front of the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada office. (Glenn Reid/CBC)
The Regina event was organized by Robyn Pitawanakwat, who said the problems facing Attawapiskat are well known in Saskatchewan communities. Three First Nations in the province also declared mental health emergencies back in March.
“It’s an old story,” she said. “It’s a tired story, but nobody is more tired than the people in these communities. They need help.
Pitawanakwat added that the problem is also rooted in Indigenous people not having control over their own communities.
“The idea that we cannot administrate our own communities and our own funds is ridiculous,” she said. “There are people who have never been to these communities deciding who gets the money and it needs to stop.”
Bennett, Angus visit Attawapiskat
Since the protests began, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett has paid a visit to Attawapiskat, joined by NDP MP Charlie Angus.
Bennett said a youth centre and better housing are in the works — but she said she wants continued guidance to form a plan that will address problems in First Nations right across the country.
Minister of Indigenous Affairs Carolyn Bennett, left, NDP MP Charlie Angus, centre, and Chief Bruce Shisheesh, right, hold hands as they speak with youth during a recent visit to Attawapiskat, Ont. (Nathan Denette/Canadian Press)
“I’ve committed to setting up a youth advisory committee to help me with priorities and make sure, as we develop plans for young indigenous people, coast-to-coast-to-coast, that I will have their guidance,” she said.
Angus announced that a delegation of Indigenous youth from northern Ontario would be visiting Ottawa soon, where they’ll be hosted by Senator Murray Sinclair.
For Winnipeg, no end in sight
In Winnipeg, where protests began one day after Toronto, around a dozen people remain in INAC’s offices.
Organizers have said little to media but a statement issued on social media lays out their demands, which include the abolishment of the Indian Act, a meeting with the Prime Minister and an end to discrimination against two-spirit people, among others.
“We will continue to assert our sovereign right to occupy this space until the Crown, so-called Government of Canada, and so-called Chief and Council, acknowledge this statement and the commands within,” the statement reads.
With files from CBC Saskatchewan, CBC Manitoba, Wawmeesh Hamilton and The Canadian Press
Protesters at INAC office on Hargrave Street call for help for First Nations in crisis
Protesters have occupied an Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada office in downtown Winnipeg.
“We have officially occupied INAC in Winnipeg in support of our brothers and sisters across Turtle Island!!!!” organizer Raquel Lavallee posted on Facebook.
Protesters say they are taking over the Indigenous and Northern Affairs office in Winnipeg “in support of our brothers and sisters across Turtle Island.” (Raquel Lynn Lavallee/Facebook)
A similar occupation took place in Toronto on Wednesday when about 20 members of Idle No More and Black Lives Matter set up in an Indigenous and Northern Affairs office there, demanding the federal government take immediate action to address recent suicide attempts in Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario.
First Nations across Canada need better funding and a commitment from the federal government to address the poverty, overcrowded housing, and other issues, the protesters in Winnipeg say.
It’s time … to honour our commitments of healing and reconciliation in Canada,” said Ko’na Cochrane, who heard about the protest and drove to the INAC office on Hargrave Street, between Ellice and Cumberland avenues.
Ko’na Cochrane drums on Thursday outside the Indigenous and Northern Affairs office on Hargrave Street in Winnipeg. (David Gaudet/CBC)
She drummed, sang songs and performed a smudge on the street in front of the office, where the protesters could see from a second-storey window.
“Canada has a serious problem and they need to deal with it in a big way. The population of indigenous people in Canada have had enough.”
Lavallee posted on Facebook that it has been peaceful but asked supporters to bring protesters water and food.
“Well we are doing fine up here. The security is being very friendly,” she wrote.
“The police are outside, we were told they were called only because there was concerns about our smudging.”
Protesters have set up inside the Indigenous and Northern Affairs office on Hargrave Street in downtown Winnipeg. (Raquel Lynn Lavallee/Facebook)
Protesters can be seen in the window of the Indigenous and Northern Affairs office at 365 Hargrave Street in Winnipeg on Thursday. (Dave Gaudet/CBC)
A protester stands on a desk in the Indian and Northern Affairs Canada office Wednesday. Protesters occupied the office to urge Ottawa to address the Attawapiskat, Ont., suicide crisis. (Facebook / Idle No More Toronto)
Idle No More, Black Lives Matter protesters occupy Toronto Indigenous and Northern Affairs office
Protest to urge government action during Attawapiskat suicide crisis has been non-violent, say police
Protesters have been occupying the Toronto office of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) since mid-morning, demanding that the federal government take action following a recent spate of suicide attempts in Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario.
Toronto police who arrived after 10:45 a.m. ET Wednesday say protesters removed a Canadian flag from the office, but that the protest has been non-violent.
As many as 20 protesters entered the office about 10:45 a.m. ET. (Facebook / Idle No More Toronto)
As many as 20 members of Idle No More and Black Lives Matter flooded the office at Yonge Street and St. Clair Avenue East.
They say they are standing in solidarity with the Attawapiskat community, which declared a state of emergency Saturday following reports of 11 suicide attempts in one day alone last weekend.
Protesters refuse to leave the premises until INAC officials speak with them directly.
“We would like to hear that they are doing more than just sending social workers after the fact. There are so many issues at stake,” protester Carrie Lester told CBC Toronto by phone.
“We’re prepared to stay as long as it takes,” Lester said. “Once we have got that determination … then, we are fine to go.”
Officials from Health Canada said on Tuesday afternoon that 18 health workers, mental-health workers and police were being dispatched to support the Attawapiskat community.
“Our government wants to assure First Nations that we are personally and directly engaged in the recent states of emergencies that have been declared,” reads a statement by Health Minister Jane Philpott.
Lester said it is not enough and protesters want to see the federal government taking more action.
Black Lives Matter interrupting a meeting of the Toronto Police Services Board.
The RCMP created a fake social media accounts to reach out to protest groups from Black Lives Matter Toronto to Idle No More.
The RCMP set up fake Facebook and Twitter accounts to monitor activists activities.
Was Bebop Arooney a Facebook friend of yours? If so, your account may have been monitored by the RCMP.
A report in the Toronto Star says the RCMP posed as a curious, cash-strapped student to obtain information on protests and rallies.
The social media account, had a profile picture of three penguins frolicking on a beach, tracked the Facebook pages of more than two dozen organizations in Toronto, ranging from Black Lives Matter Toronto and Idle No More to the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
The RCMP kept tabs on Toronto protest groups using this Facebook profile.
“This is the disgusting reality of working for justice for black people,” Black Lives Matter Toronto said in a statement to The Star. “You get treated as a threat, like you were doing something wrong.”
Documents obtained by The Star under the Access to Information Act show the RCMP prodding organizers of an anti-Novotel union rally in 2012 with seemingly harmless questions about the availability of free food and refreshments at the rally.
But Lis Pimental, the president of the union that planned the demonstration, found nothing harmless about the covert social media activity.
“The idea that the RCMP would attempt to interfere with the charter-protected rights of workers simply underscores the importance of those very rights,” she told The Star.
“It’s unacceptable for any employer to do it. It is doubly unacceptable for the RCMP, who are supposed to be here to protect us, to do it.”
The RCMP admitted that it created the fake Facebook profile, and a separate Twitter account (@angrycitizen123) but told The Star it no longer uses them to track activists.
“The (Facebook) account mentioned was opened in 2005 for operational reasons, and since that time, the RCMP’s social media practices have changed and evolved and now we use an official media account for such purposes,” a spokesperson told The Star.
The Facebook profile was deleted Thursday, but the Twitter account is still active.
Bebop Arooney @angrycitizen123 Twitter Account
If Idle No More had a scrappy older brother, 1990’s ‘Indian Summer’ would be it.
That historic summer started the moment Manitoba’s iconic MLA Elijah Harper clutched his eagle feather and helped kill the Meech Lake Accord in the province’s legislature.
By the time the leaves changed, Canada had been gripped by a 78-day stand off near Oka, Que., by the Mohawk community of Kanesatake and nationwide protests born of years of frustration. Scholars now contend that summer, especially the Oka crisis, was a “flashpoint event” in Canadian history.
“It demonstrated that we could take a stand together and we could make a difference. We made history,” said former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations Phil Fontaine of Meech’s defeat. “This was about having a very clear vision, knowing our place in Canada and (being) able to articulate very forcefully and clearly and respectfully the acceptance we were looking for from the rest of the country.”
If Meech proved First Nations wouldn’t be ignored, University of Manitoba political scientist Kiera Ladner said the Oka crisis a few weeks later demonstrated the true cost of ignoring indigenous peoples.
But, a generation later, indigenous people are not much closer to any real form of sovereignty.
Nearly all the issues at play during the summer of 1990 — outstanding land claims, control over resource development on traditional lands, genuine national consultation and everyday poverty and racism — still remain. Any moves toward indigenous self-government have been piecemeal and local — the Nisga’a Treaty in British Columbia and the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation agreement last year in Manitoba, a handful of incremental Supreme Court decisions that stop short of saying First Nations have an inherent right to self-government, local initiatives such as the east-side land-use planning process in Manitoba or even the stalled devolution of child welfare.
In fact, First Nations would argue that, for every step forward, there are steps back. Take for example the First Nations Financial Transparency Act. And, as during the Meech era, there’s significant dissent among indigenous groups. In particular, the Assembly of First Nations and its leadership are often at odds with the grassroots, including many in the Idle No More movement.
The kinds of conflicts that erupted in 1990 still erupt, with little framework to resolve them on a national scale. The idea that mega-constitional meetings might be used as a venue to establish a new relationship between Canada and its first peoples doesn’t appear to be on anyone’s radar.
Meech’s defeat gave rise to the 1992 Charlottetown Accord, another attempt to resolve long-standing disputes over the division of federal and provincial powers. That deal was defeated in a national referendum, but the process that led up to it was very different. This time, aboriginal leaders were at the table when the deal was hammered out. The failed accord also contained a clause approving in principle the concept of aboriginal self-government, and defining it, however imperfectly.
Had it passed, Charlottetown would have been a step forward for indigenous self-government, said Ladner.
Instead, said Fontaine and Ovide Mercredi, another Manitoba-born giant of the era, aboriginal people have yet to be officially recognized as of one of Canada’s founding partners. The status quo of Canada’s two founding nations prevails, and First Nations constitutional issues largely remain about jurisdiction. Are they a federal “problem” or a provincial one?
“Meech was about the future, not just resistance to exclusion on our part,” said Mercredi, who helped negotiate the Charlottetown Accord as national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. “And the country fell asleep and the leaders of exclusion took over and a vision of a better Canada with indigenous people helping to perfect it has been buried once again in ignorance and shame.”
Instead of endless constitutional debate, many indigenous leaders have turned their focus to documents that typically predate Canada’s collection of constitutional legislation — the treaties. Leaders such as Manitoba’s Derek Nepinak hold those documents as the basis for a modern relationship, but it’s often unclear what the treaties mean in a modern context. Treaty conflicts over land claims, promises for education and health services and resource development take years to resolve. Witness Kapyong Barracks, Winnipeg’s most visible relic of what several southern Manitoba First Nations say is a treaty promise unfulfilled.
In the meantime, defining exactly what self-government might mean remains largely the domain of academics. Is it the creation of a parallel system by individual nations, each with their own education, health, welfare and justice systems, and their own governments that exist, somehow, alongside Canada? Or, are First Nations a kind of third order of government similar to a province or a municipality? Or, since aboriginal peoples will always be Canadian, is it possible to create a common political culture, where indigenous values are embedded and enhanced?
While that debate takes place, largely beyond the public eye, Ladner and Fontaine note that indigenous people are focusing on economic power, and revitalizing their communities from within.
In the years since Meech, aboriginal people have made great strides in the business world, said Fontaine, who now operates his own consulting firm and is a special advisor to the Royal Bank of Canada. There are 40,000 businesses owned and managed by aboriginal people in Canada, he said. More indigenous people are graduating from high school and universities than ever before. They’re being appointed as judges, university presidents and getting elected to office in greater numbers.
And, noted Ladner, the new generation of indigenous activists are looking at rebuilding from the inside, beyond the constraints of Indian Act rules or endless negotiations with government over funding or control. That includes creating their own economic development opportunities such as urban reserves.
“There’s a different political goal than just constitutional change because there a recognition that Canada will never give over the power,” said Ladner. “Political activities are about rebuilding nations… There’s a ‘just do it’ approach.”
3:45 pm – Water Blessing Ceremony (please bring a container of water from your area)
4:00 pm – Closing Prayer
In solidarity with our Alaskan brothers and sisters in the Arctic, and all the Coast Salish tribes who are the original stewards of the Salish Sea we come together in a good way to unify in Spirit for prayer, ceremony, and songs to bring a peaceful resolution to preserve and protect the Arctic from the proposed drilling by Shell.
We invite all our Native brothers and sisters to join us in support of not allowing Royal Dutch Shell to use the Port of Seattle Terminal #5 for their drilling rigs, stopping the drilling in the Arctic, and how could we instead support sustainable energy sources. We must ask how can we support Alaska Natives in finding other sources of revenue and work that is not devastating to their traditional way of life, contribute to climate change, and rising sea levels.
We will have travel stipends available for canoe families coming from far away, reserve some hotel rooms with double beds for Friday (sorry for the late notice, but we would need to know before Friday if you need a room), a dinner on Friday at 6 pm. Please contact Sweetwater if your canoe family can make it and how we can assist with accommodations. Bring your drums, regalia, signs, and be #IdleNoMore
PLAN TO ARRIVE EARLY. We encourage public transit. There will be a shuttle from a nearby parking area. Traffic will be very congested and may take 30-45min longer than normal.
Driving Directions from the north to Seacrest Marina
1) Merge onto I-5 S.
2) Take EXIT 163A toward W Seattle Br/Columbian Way/W Seattle Br N.
3) Merge onto W Seattle Bridge W toward Spokane St N.
Days after the Foss Maritime announced that they intended to defy Seattle Mayor Ed Murray, and illegally host Shell’s Arctic drilling fleet, Seattle activists have blockaded Shell’s Seattle fuel transfer station by erecting a tripod.
Photo: RisingTideNA (Twitter) 2015-05-12
Next week, thousands of protestors from Seattle and beyond plan to converge at terminal 5 and Harbor Island to non-violently resist the progress of Shell’s Arctic drilling rigs and support vessels. On May 16 a family-friendly Paddle in Seattle will rally people on water and land to protest their presence. Then May 18, activists plan direct action on land. Read more about “Festival of Resistance” at Shellno.org.
The report was part of a series of updates by Russett of the goings-on inside Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s camp on Victoria Island which was set up during her liquids-only fast during the height of the Idle No More movement.
The RCMP issued a statement distancing the federal police force from the comparison.
“It is unfortunate that one of our employees has referred in an internal email to the Idle No More movement in such a manner,” said Gagnon, in the statement, sent to APTN National News. “The RCMP apologizes to anyone who may have been offended by this unfortunate choice of words to describe the Idle No More movement.”
While Russett’s site report primarily provided close to real-time details of the evolving situation inside Spence’s camp, it also included a discussion of the Idle No More movement.
“This Idle No More movement is like bacteria, it has grown a life of its own all across this nation,” wrote Russett, in the Dec.24, 2012, document. “It may be advisable for all to have contingency plans in place, as this is one issue that is not going to go away.”
The report also struck an ominous tone.
“There is a high probability that we could see flash mobs, round dances and blockades become much less compliant to laws in an attempt to get their point across,” said the site report. “The escalation of violence is ever near.”
The document was titled, “Chief Spense’s Hunger Strike and the Idle No More Movement (sic)” and classified “for law enforcement only.”
The Idle No More movement was like “bacteria” that spread across the country carrying with it the potential for an outbreak of violence, according to an internal RCMP document shared by senior officers.
The internal document was a site report from Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence’s camp which set up during her liquids-only fast on Victoria Island in the Ottawa River within sight of Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court of Canada. The camp became a hub of activity during the height of the Idle No More movement between December 2012 and January 2013.
The site report was written by RCMP Cpl. Wayne Russet, the Aboriginal liaison for the national capital region, and sent to Insp. Mike LeSage, the acting director general for National Aboriginal Policing. LeSage passed it on to Carrie Ann McPherson, a senior analyst with the RCMP’s Operations Intelligence Analysis Section.
APTN National News obtained the document under the Access to Information Act. APTN filed the request in April 2013 and only recently received it.
While the document primarily provided close to real-time details of the evolving situation inside Spence’s camp, it also included a discussion of the Idle No More movement.
“This Idle No More Movement is like bacteria, it has grown a life of its own all across this nation,” wrote Russet, in the Dec.24, 2012, document which was based on events as of noon that day and sent at 1:17 p.m. “It may be advisable for all to have contingency plans in place, as this is one issue that is not going to go away.”
The report also struck an ominous tone.
“There is a high probability that we could see flash mobs, round dances and blockades become much less compliant to laws in an attempt to get their point across,” said the document. “The escalation of violence is ever near.”
The document was titled, “Chief Spense’s Hunger Strike and the Idle No More Movement (sic)” and classified “for law enforcement only.”
It also provides mundane details about Spence’s state of health and life in the camp and non-events of the previous days.
“Chief (Spence) is doing well, she is in good spirts. Her camp is being well maintained by the Fire Keeper and the eight male Peace Keepers. Cpl. Russett is in daily contact with the camp,” said the document. “The chief has shown no signs of weakening in her previous commitment to continue her hunger strike until she and the other chiefs get a meeting with the prime minister.”
Russett also often forwarded emails he received from unknown persons giving him information on upcoming protests in the Ottawa region.
Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence during her liquids-only fast on Victoria Island
At its peak, the Idle No More movement attracted significant RCMP attention, according to the cache of documents released to APTN under the Act.
The RCMP “stood up” a “federal policing intelligence coordination team” to monitor Idle No More. It also created an email account specifically for Idle No More monitoring which received 575 emails between January 2013 and the end of March. The RCMP also tallied about 1,000 Idle No More related events as of April 8, according to a separate document outlining options for using the RCMP’s national intelligence capabilities to support monitoring of First Nation protests.
The majority of Idle No More protests, round-dances and blockades occurred between the end of December 2012 and January 2013.
The highly redacted document was titled, National Aboriginal Demonstrations and Protests; Framework for Defining the RCMP’s Coordinated National Intelligence support.
It has no date, but appears to have been drafted in April 2013.
It discussed a perceived shift away from specific-Idle No More movement to spin-off protests.
The document said the campaign planned to target pipelines, tar sands, natural gas, fisheries and mines.
“The spring of 2013 has been marked by an evolution in terms of Aboriginal protests whereby INM-specific events have abated and land sovereignty/environmental protests that are not necessarily associated with INM have emerged,” said the document. “Associations of convenience have occurred and may continue to form in order to gain political traction. These associations blur the line between INM-sponsored events and activities from other groups or movements.”
One Idle No More spin-off which appears not to have been on the radar at the time was the simmering opposition to hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick.
Things took a turn in the province after the Mi’kmaq took the lead in protests against shale gas exploration. The first flare up came on June 21 that year, Aboriginal Day, when the RCMP arrested about 40 people during a tense demonstration.
On Oct. 17, 2013, heavily-armed RCMP tactical units raided a Mi’kmaq Warrior-anchored camp which had trapped several exploration vehicles. The RCMP raid turned up ammunition and three bolt-action, single shot rifles during a day of clashes that led to the torching of several RCMP vehicles.
The protests continued after the raid, culminating in the burning of tires on Hwy 11 in New Brunswick which connects Moncton and Bathurst.