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Activist Communique: Idle on Earth Day?

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Dear readers, I promised I would get back to you regarding any plans for the weekend, and I am sorry to report that there are currently no Toronto Idle No More actions planned for Monday April 22 – Earth Day.

I suspect that this will ruffle some feathers, but I know I’ve not been the only one asking: Where have all the Round Dances gone?

Do we not remember November and December 2012? 

Is Idle No More lacking leadership? (It seems to still have plenty of supporters.)

Manitoba Elder Raymond Robinson just finished a five day fast for the people.  Is he not as good a leader as Chief Theresa Spence?

Who exactly are the supporters of Idle No More waiting for, when it comes to the drive to action? The  official Assembly of First Nation type leadership? Leadership from Idle No More founders? From communities in spite of the lack of action?

There had been a call out for a global day of action for Earth Day and I did dialogue with Idle No More Toronto organizers expressing my desire for a call out for action, something that Torontonians could rally behind. But so far nothing has come of it regarding a community call out to assist in planning any action for Monday. A friend quipped on Facebook, has Idle No More become “Idle”.

I'm begging someone to prove me wrong.

But I am just one humble drummer, wishing to hear the beating heart of Mother Earth despite these concrete and glass walls. I wish to feel the ceremonial joy of the round dance as we each dance the circle.

Is the movement a victim of its own success, a fire that burned too hot, too quick, to sustain itself?

According to the Idle No More Toronto Facebook site  (one of two sites on Facebook) they are still holding teach-ins each Tuesday in Toronto. I admit this is where I expected a community mobilization call out to come from, so the community could come together and organize something awesome.

There has been some friction in the past in Toronto regarding who “owns” (I don’t personally think that this is possible) the right to organize Idle No More Toronto events, which is why I write this post with a heavy heart. But I also have to be honest regards to activist organizing in Toronto.

This is not to negate the Toronto organizing around the Nation-to-Nation Saturday conference and concert a few weeks back, but Earth Day was promoted as a major, upcoming milestone so I personally feel let down on some level.

There has been a long and beautiful history of Indigenous rights and environmental justice working together to defend Mother Earth; in fact I believe they must exist in sequence for real, meaningful change to take place. Have we betrayed this great tradition somehow through the arrogance of urbanization?

There is a major Idle No More and Defenders of the Land event planned for Ottawa on Earth Day April 22 at Parliament Hill starting at 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm.  This is great, inspirational news that joint Indigenous rights and environmental justice actions can work. 

There also is this amazing B.C. call out for Idle No More actions on Earth Day. You can view the link here.   

I guess I had assumed that the recent announcement on March 19, 2013, that Idle No More was partnering with Defenders of the Land would have created more action here in Toronto.  

Here is a portion of the call out:

"Idle No More and Defenders of the Land, a network of Indigenous communities in land struggle, have joined together to issue this common call for escalating action. Our demands are clear and in accordance with the principles of coexistence and mutual respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples. We demand that Canada, the provinces and the territories:

1.     Repeal provisions of Bill C-45 (including changes to the Indian Act and Navigable Waters Act, which infringe on environmental protections, Aboriginal and Treaty rights) and abandon all pending legislation which does the same.

2.     Deepen democracy in Canada through practices such as proportional representation and consultation on all legislation concerning collective rights and environmental protections, and include legislation which restricts corporate interests.

3.     In accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ principle of free, prior, and informed consent, respect the right of Indigenous peoples to say no to development on their territory.

4.     Cease its policy of extinguishment of Aboriginal Title and recognize and affirm Aboriginal Title and Rights, as set out in section 35 of Canada’s constitution, and recommended by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

5.     Honour the spirit and intent of the historic Treaties. Officially repudiate the racist Doctrine of Discovery and the Doctrine of Terra Nullius, and abandon their use to justify the seizure of Indigenous Nations lands and wealth.

6.     Actively resist violence against women and hold a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and involve Indigenous women in the design, decision-making, process and implementation of this inquiry, as a step toward initiating a comprehensive and coordinated national action plan."

 The Call Out for action on Earth Day reads:

Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous rights are in many cases the best defence against environmental destruction by unchecked greed and industrial development.

This Earth Day we are calling for nationwide autonomous local protests — and a mass non-violent direct action in Ottawa to be announced soon — highlighting the importance of Indigenous rights in combating the Harper and corporate agenda. We are asking people to prominently include messaging on Indigenous and Treaty rights in their actions.

Checking out the official Idle No More calendar for events  – for maybe Toronto really isn’t the centre of the universe – I see that East Tennessee is having a round dance on Saturday. That’s kind of it.

Returning to Facebook to scan popular Idle No More Facebook sites to look for posted events, I’m excited to see a posting for an Idle No More Walk for Earth Day in Stony Lake Treaty Six Territory (Delarond Lake).

On Twitter, I found out that Trois Riveres is going to have a flashmob on Earth Day at Trois Riveres Mall at 2:00 pm.

Hopefully, these great ideas can prompt our collective imagination as we prepare for Sovereignty Summer.

Here is the call out for Sovereignty Summer

"communities have the right to determine the development on their traditional and treaty territories. In defending their right to say “No” to unwanted development, First Nations like Barriere Lake, KI, Grassy Narrows and many others are advancing alternatives that help us re-imagine our relationship to the environment.

Across the country, people are increasingly supporting First Nations who are trying to protect lands, waters and air for everyone, and to win recognition of marine protections, of sustainable forestry, of local, just economies, and of the principle that we must respect the environment that we are a part of.

We are calling on non-Indigenous people to join Indigenous communities in coordinated non-violent direct actions in the summer. Alternatives will only come to life if we escalate our actions, taking bold non-violent direct action that challenges the illegitimate power of corporations who dictate government policy."


Krystalline Kraus

If you are planning an Idle No More action for Earth Day, please post the details below. I could use some uplifting news.


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