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Ben Powless

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Ben Powless is a Mohawk citizen from Six Nations in Ontario, currently based in Ottawa. He works primarily with the Indigenous Environmental Network. He is an avid photographer and sporadic writer.

Idle No More, Defenders of Land call for intensifying actions through spring, summer

| March 19, 2013
The original Defenders of the Land gathering, 2008.

Idle No More's founders and its chapters across the country have issued a call to build mounting pressure, including through mass non-violent direct actions to be joined by non-natives, to challenge "the Harper government and the corporate agenda."

The declaration, jointly released with Defenders of the Land, a network of Indigenous communities, leaders, and activists involved in high-profile struggles to defend their land rights, calls for a "Solidarity Spring" to precede a "Sovereignty Summer," with actions on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, Earth Day on April 22, and through the summer.

"The Harper government's agenda is clear: to weaken all collective rights and environmental protections, in order to turn Canada into an extraction state that gives corporations unchecked power to destroy our communities and environment for profit," reads the statement, available at: http://idlenomore.ca/item/154-human-rights or http://www.defendersoftheland.org/story/318.

"Harper is trying to extinguish Indigenous Peoples' inherent, Aboriginal, and treaty rights to their territories because these rights are the best and last protection for all Canadians," said Arthur Manuel, a spokesperson for Defenders of the Land.

"Across the country, people are increasingly supporting First Nations who are trying to protect lands, waters, and air for everyone," said Sylvia McAdam, one of the founders of Idle No More.

The demands of Idle No More and Defenders of the Land include a repeal of sections of the now passed Bill C-45 that impact the environment along with Aboriginal and treaty rights; changing the electoral system to proportional representation; ensuring consultation happens before any legislation is introduced that impacts collective rights and the environment; the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; an end to the government's policies of "extinguishment" of Aboriginal title; the full implementation of treaties; and active resistance to violence against women and a national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women.

Upcoming action days

-  March 21 - International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

-  April 22  - Earth Day

Nationwide autonomous local protests highlighting the importance of Indigenous rights in combating the Harper and corporate agenda.

-  Sovereignty Summer

A campaign of co-ordinated non-violent direct actions to promote Aboriginal rights and environmental protection in alliance with non-native supporters.


The Journey of Nishiyuu walkers, travelling over two months, over 1,100 km to march to Ottawa, part of the Idle No More movement.

For more information:





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