“I once asked an Elder in Barriere Lake if there was an Algonquin word for “solidarity.” He said there was no direct translation, but that the closest approximation was Widj-i-nia-mo-dwin — which means “walking together toward a common aim.” I love this. It captures for me the essence of solidarity. Solidarity is about a conscious choice to join together, to share a struggle, while remembering that the burdens, especially in collaborations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, always remain unequal.
Solidarity means meeting the people whom you wish to organize with where they are—and taking that as a starting point for the path you’ll travel together, rather than imposing your own idea about how a struggle should proceed. When walking, you’re not in front of someone, as a guide, as a vanguard. You’re side by side.
When two people go walking, they talk, and solidarity at its most respectful and responsible is essentially a conversation. This is how you discover a community’s vision for itself, how it would like to determine itself. The principle of self-determination really is the foundation of solidarity. That forms the basis of the struggle. Solidarity is also a never-ending process to better understand each other’s norms, limitations and boundaries—whether political, cultural, psychological, or material. The exchanges we have help us know when the trust is strong enough to let us push each other, push those boundaries. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes! That’s often how we learn best.
And speaking of “walking together” hints at the commitment and stamina involved in meaningful solidarity. The process of winning campaigns, expanding people’s rights and liberties, and changing society, is not a sprint. Getting to that place we want to go will take time—we’ll get there by walking.” – Martin Lukcas in Widj-e-nia-mo-dwin: Walking together for Indigenous rights, Norman Matchewan in conversation with Martin Lukacs.
December has been a very active month with the #idlenomore Indigenous Sovereignty movement across Turtle Island (aka North America) and Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike for a nation-to-nation meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org) and the Queen’s representative in Canada – Governor General David Johnston (email@example.com). The #idlenomore Indigenous Sovereignty movement and Chief Spence’s action are both inspiring and significant, culminating in an international day of action on December 21, where thousands converged in Ottawa.
While Indigenous peoples continue to lead struggles against environmental degradation and social injustices, non-Natives have an important role to play in the success of the Idle No More movement. As Pamela Palmater said “After all, First Nations, with our constitutionally protected aboriginal and treaty rights, are Canadians’ last best hope to protect the lands, plants and animals from complete destruction — which doesn’t just benefit our children, but the children of all Canadians.”
Below are some resources on the importance of the #idlenomore movement and understanding of Indigenous struggles.
Please share via your networks, and help us educate other Canadians on the significance of supporting Indigenous Sovereignty for our collective future.
Why we are Idle No More By Pamela Palmater http://bit.ly/RnJWG9
Idle No More pamphlet ‘Resetting and Restoring the Relationship’ authored by Taiaiake Alfred and Tobold Rollo (PDF file): http://ipsmo.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/idle-no-more-pamphlet/
Aboriginal Issue Primers by âpihtawikosisân http://apihtawikosisan.com/aboriginal-issue-primers/
Wab Kinew on the Stereotypes about Natives in Canada
Taiaiake Alfred – Part 1 – Acimowin
Taiaiake Alfred – Part 2 – Acimowin
Aambe! Maajaadaa! (What #IdleNoMore Means to Me) By Leanne Simpson http://bit.ly/VgT37x
“Our Ancestors were very astute at reading landscapes. So let’s recognize the value of this technique and apply this technique to the Canadian political landscape. Let’s stop and take a look around and focus on those visual cues, not what settler governments are saying, but the evidence of what they’ve done. When I do this, I see that Bill C-45 isn’t an isolated incident. Canadian environmental legislation was gutted in the first omnibus bill and barely anyone noticed. We have known this was coming since Harper was elected and Flanagan proved so influential to him in First Nations issues. Bill C-45 is not a blip on the political landscape. It is just one part of a much larger political project that the Conservatives, the NDP and the Liberals are all party to because none of them have ever articulated an alternative model to working with First Nations based on our sovereignty, nationhood and our treaties. None of them have ever seriously considered the recommendations of the Final Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. This conflict between Canada and Indigenous nations started long before the White Paper. It even started before the first Indian Act. It started at the moment the colonizers stopped seeing us as sovereign nations and started seeing us as an obstacle to lands and resources, obstacles they could legislate out of existence.” – Leanne Simpson
CBC interview with Pam Palmater http://bit.ly/Y0Mt7F
Chief Theresa Spence Interview:
Idle No More Sweeps Canada and Beyond as Aboriginals Say Enough Is Enough By David P. Ball http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/article/idle-no-more-sweeps-canada-and-beyond-aboriginals-say-enough-enough-146516
Ryerson University Indigenous Governance professor Pamela Palmater, Mik’maq, attended the 4,000-person rally on Parliament Hill, the largest of the Idle No More events.
“Being in Ottawa at the rally, amongst thousands of our brothers and sisters from indigenous nations all over Canada, dancing, singing and drumming was a spirit-filling moment for me,” she told Indian Country Today Media Network. “You could feel the pride in our peoples standing shoulder to shoulder to protect our future generations. The energy was palpable and you could feel that our ancestors walked with us. The wind blowing through our Nations’ many flags was symbolic of our collective strength. Despite the cold, snow and wind, the spirit that has been relit in our peoples has enough heat to keep us in this grassroots movement for the long haul.”
Canada’s First Nations protest heralds a new alliance
The grassroots IdleNoMore movement of aboriginal people offers a more sustainable future for all Canadians
By Martin Lukacs http://bit.ly/UJn41j
“But here’s the good news. Amidst a hugely popular national movement against tar sands tankers and pipelines that would cross aboriginal territories, Canadians are starting a different narrative: allying with First Nations that have strong legal rights, and a fierce attachment to their lands and waters, may, in fact, offer the surest chance of protecting the environment and climate. Get behind aboriginal communities that have vetoes over unwanted development, and everyone wins. First Nations aren’t about to push anyone off the land; they simply want to steward it responsibly.” – Martin Lukacs
Toronto Star: Why Idle No More is gaining strength, and why all Canadians should care By Jeff Denis http://is.gd/eOt7zN
“Why should non-Indigenous Canadians care?
First, it is a matter of social and environmental justice. When corporate profit is privileged over the health of our lands and waters, we all suffer. When government stifles debate, democracy is diminished. Bill C-45 is just the latest in a slew of legislation that undermines Canadians’ rights. In standing against it, the First Nations are standing for us too.
Second, as Justice Linden of the Ipperwash Inquiry said, “we are all treaty people.” When our governments unilaterally impose legislation on the First Nations, they dishonour the Crown, they dishonour us, and they dishonour our treaty relationship. We are responsible for ensuring that our governments fulfill their commitments. If our governments do not respect Indigenous and treaty rights, then the very legitimacy of the Canadian state — and thus of all our citizenship rights — is in doubt. That’s what Idle No More is about.
So, yes, Harper should meet with Spence. But a meeting alone will not suffice. Change requires action. It requires a shift in public consciousness. It requires all of us being there, Dec. 21 and beyond, to “live the spirit and intent of the treaty relationship, work toward justice in action, and protect Mother Earth”. – Jeff Denis
Idle No More: Women rising to lead when it’s needed most By Muna Mire http://bit.ly/RdItC4
“Sounds like a long shot, but we’re used to that. We don’t think in quarterly statements and yearly projections. We think in terms of generations,” Paquette said.
As Chief Spence starves, Canadians awaken from idleness and remember their roots By Naomi Klein http://bit.ly/V1s55U
“The greatest blessing of all, however, is indigenous sovereignty itself. It is the huge stretches of this country that have never been ceded by war or treaty. It is the treaties signed and still recognized by our courts. If Canadians have a chance of stopping Mr. Harper’s planet-trashing plans, it will be because these legally binding rights – backed up by mass movements, court challenges, and direct action will stand in his way. All Canadians should offer our deepest thanks that our indigenous brothers and sisters have protected their land rights for all these generations, refusing to turn them into one-off payments, no matter how badly they were needed. These are the rights Mr. Harper is trying to extinguish now.
During this season of light and magic, something truly magical is spreading. There are round dances by the dollar stores. There are drums drowning out muzak in shopping malls. There are eagle feathers upstaging the fake Santas. The people whose land our founders stole and whose culture they tried to stamp out are rising up, hungry for justice. Canada’s roots are showing. And these roots will make us all stand stronger.” – Naomi Klein
Idle No More Is Not Just an “Indian Thing” By Wab Kinew http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/wab-kinew/idle-no-more-canada_b_2316098.html
“To me this conversation is more than just an “Indian Thing.” It is one that Canadians of all backgrounds should pay attention to, if not participate in. The ideals that are underlying this action are ones to which we all aspire, even if we may disagree on how exactly to pursue them. ” – Wab Kinew
5. #IdleNoMore is about Engaging Youth
4. #IdleNoMore is about Finding Meaning
3. #IdleNoMore is about Rights
2. #IdleNoMore is about the Environment
1. #IdleNoMore is about Democracy
#IdleNoMore Campaign http://www.ammsa.com/content/idlenomore-campaign
A collection of articles, commentary and events listings showcasing the #IdleNoMore campaign and it’s efforts to change government legislation, policy and funding for Canada’s Indigenous people.
For Indigenous news:
Ally Bill of Responsibilities by Lynn Gehl: http://www.lynngehl.com/settler-ally-resources.html
For more resources: https://www.facebook.com/notes/settlers-in-support-of-indigenous-rights-idle-no-more/resources-for-non-native-folks-looking-to-relate-get-involved-and-act-in-solidar/578516912164905
By Andy Everson, Northwest Coast Artist