In honour of Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike, people from many Native communities around Nova Scotia gathered in Halifax for a peaceful demonstration. The Idle No More movement that has spread worldwide was started by four Canadian women after the C-45 omnibus bill violated many treaties that had been set in place to protect our resources.
Specifically the waterways navigation protection act which protected all lakes, streams and rivers in Canada. It was refined to only protect: 3 oceans, 97 lakes and 62 rivers. The accusation of the government under this act is that they are providing themselves less red tape to fight through in order to build a pipeline from the oil sands to the gulf coast.
This omnibus bill may be the action that sparked Idle No More but there are many issues that are keeping Canada’s Native community our darkest secret. The housing and infrastructure on reserves is decayed and ineffective. Alcoholism and diagnosis of diabetes is very high in the native community as they’re bodies are accustomed to hundreds of years of metabolizing migratory foods and are not accustomed to a western diet. The culture, tradition and language of the original people has been ignored and stripped even from themselves.
All these things are necessities in part of a bigger role that the Native community will play in acting within their treaties to protect Canadian land. The treaties held with the Native community and the crown are a great tool that all Canadians have in protecting the overproduction and devastation of our resource rich land in the wake of a capital driven economy. The Native community were once a sovereign people focused on organic farming and sustainability, something we are trying to balance within our communities now. Through legislation upon legislation, we have put the community in isolation. Now there is a movement to change that.
I recommend all Canadians support Idle No More and take a look at the “Kelowna Accord” which was put forth by Paul Martin’s government in 2005 implementing a 10 year plan distributing 5 billion dollars, in discussion and agreement with Native leaders, on fixing many of the problems in the Native community. The first draft was named “First Ministers and National Aboriginal Leaders Strengthening Relationships and Closing the Gap”. In 2006, Harper’s government was elected and this agreement was rejected/refined in the new budget to provide $450 million over 2 years. Furthering the gap and ignorance of this lands original people. With this attitude of our heads of government, Idle No More was a matter of time and I would love to see all Canadians replace our notorious apathy with resounding empathy.
Shot and Edited by Brad Rivers.