Idle No More is a sustaining and successful grassroots indigenous sovereignty movement that all activists can learn from. Built on the frustrations of systemic oppression through the Indian Act and the horrific legacy of the residential school system, Idle No More is a continuation of indigenous resistance that has been happening for centuries. Today is the anniversary of the first Idle No More day of action. It's also the perfect time to look back at the tools that Idle No More has used, adapted and created in such a short amount of time.
Harnessing social media. Given how spread out many indigenous folks are, living in remote or rural areas, using social media to mobilize not only made sense, but created a new space for indigenous voices. Folks participating in #IdleNoMore streaming webinars, Twitter conversations and Facebook discussions could do so no matter where they were geographically. Much like in the Arab Spring, information and resources are shared by folks working on the grassroots for the benefit of other activists. Emphasizing the history of colonialism through an indigenous understanding has helped link many different struggles from environmental activism, feminism and queer organizing to Idle No More. The power of the hashtag to reach out, attract attention and spark discussion was invaluable to the success of the movement.
Holding rallies and marches. With indigenous issues seldom reported on by the mainstream media, Idle No More has used designated days of action and solidarity to create awareness about legislation that direct affects First Nations. In fact, the first Idle No More protest was organized to march against Bill C-45 the omnibus federal budget which, among other destructive policies, contained substantial changes to the Indian Act. Aside from the number of people attending these protests, Idle No More rallies directly resist attempts to assimilate or appropriate their culture by drumming, dressing traditionally and practicing their culture.
Exploiting the mainstream media. Both of the tools above have helped put Idle No More in the newscycle. By creating a movement with no spokesperson, anyone involved can speak to their work in the movement, making it easy for reporters to find a "local" angle to the story and find sources. This has helped keep Idle No More in the mainstream media's coverage. Though mainstream media can be highly problematic, this visibility has helped form Idle No More as an international movement.
These are only some of the many tools to use on #INM1yr to keep this important movement growing. To mark the anniversary, actions are being held across Canada.
What tools are you using in your organizing? What would you like to see on the toolkit? Let us know in the comments or sign into your rabble.ca account and post your own!
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