Tag Archives: Idle No More

INM And BLM Protesters Occupy Toronto Indigenous And Northern Affairs Office

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)

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

CBC News Posted: Apr 13, 2016

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 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.

Attawapiskat map

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.


Meech Failure Kicked Off ‘Indian Summer’

Within days of Meech's failure, the 78-day standoff between Mohawk Warriors and Canadian soldiers took hold in Oka, Que.

Within days of Meech’s failure, the 78-day standoff between Mohawk Warriors and Canadian soldiers took hold in Oka, Que.

Winnipeg Free Press

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, Ovide Mercredi says.

Meech was about the future, not just resistance to exclusion, Ovide Mercredi says.

“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.”

— Mary Agnes Welch, with files from Larry Kusch  



Idle No More Washington ~ From the Arctic to the Salish Sea

dle No More ~ From the Arctic to the Salish Sea. Photo: Facebook

Idle No More ~ From the Arctic to the Salish Sea. Photo: Facebook

Idle No More ~ From the Arctic to the Salish Sea

Hosted by Idle No More Washington

Saturday May 16, 2015, 10 am – 4:30 pm. Seacrest Marina Park: 1660 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle, Washington 98126

  • 10:00 am – Canoes gather at Seacrest Marina
  • 11-12:30 – Canoes leave for a short pull for photo op, board the barge for a jam session, open mic, music, and speakers.
  • 1:00 pm – Pull to Jack Block Park, 2130 Harbor Ave SW, Seattle
  • 2:00 pm – Duwamish Welcoming, Landing Protocol, Opening Blessing, and speakers.
  • 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.

4) Take the Harbor Ave/Avalon Way exit.

5) Turn right onto Harbor Ave SW.

6) 1660 HARBOR AVE SW is on the right.

Event Page: https://www.facebook.comevents/435811393260441/

Activists Use Tripod To Block Shell’s Seattle Operations:

  • 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.

RCMP Apologizes For Idle No More ‘Bacteria’ Comparison


By Jorge Barrera | APTN National News

The RCMP is apologizing for a comparison likening the Idle No More movement to “bacteria” which was made by an Aboriginal liaison officer in an internal report.

RCMP spokesperson Staff-Sgt. Julie Gagnon said the comparison “is not reflective of the views and opinions of the organization.”

The bacteria comparison was made in internal site report by RCMP Cpl. Wayne Russett, Aboriginal liaison for the national capital region.

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.”

NDP’s Aboriginal affairs critic Niki Ashton demanded during question period Friday that Public Safety Minister Stephen Blaney apologize for the bacteria comparison.

Ashton’s question was fielded by Conservative MP Roxanne James, the parliamentary secretary for Public Safety. James said she found Ashton’s question “abhorrent” and refused to issue any apology.

APTN obtained the site report under the Access to Information Act.

APTN filed the request under the Act in April 2013 and only recently received the documents.