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Activist Communique: Idle No More and the Homebuilding Movement

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In my years of activism, I have pounded down many pairs of boots on the streets of Toronto. I don't regret any of it, but I can reflect on the temporary nature of street demonstrations.

You get a flier or an email, you show up, you march around, shout some slogans and you go home.

Sometimes the powers that be hear you and sometimes they don't.

But the point I'm making here is that while it's important to manifest our anger or solidarity towards a certain cause -- like Idle No More and the all important Round Dances that helped spread ceremony and public awareness around First Nations issues in Canada -- the manifestation isn't permanent.

Some would say that's the point. Some other people would remark on my cynicism right now.

I'm not trying to be cynical, I swear.

I actually have good news to share (no, not that kind of knock-knock-on the door wanting to share the Good News with you) about an amazing campaign that is so so so close to being a reality I just have to shout about it.

There is a great project I would like to plug called the Grassroots Indigenous Cabin Build Project billed as, "Grassroots women from the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen are calling for support in building a log cabin as a base to protect Mother Earth and fight homelessness."

Here is the call out:

"Grassroots Homebuilding Movement

Grassroots women from the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen, in northwestern Ontario, are taking action to protect Mother Earth and improve their lives, by beginning a homebuilding movement.

Conditions on their reserve are intolerable. Members of the community face extreme poverty and homelessness, while mining and forestry companies profit off destroying their land and traditional food sources. In organizing to excercise treaty rights by building homes on their traplines off-reserve,  the group of women are led by Darlene Necan, a hunter and trapper, and spokesperson for off-reserve members.

They're calling for support from people within and outside her community to help Darlene in building a log cabin that can also serve as a gathering place. She will then lead the building of homes for other young homeless families who want to return to living on the land.

The ILPS Commission in Support of Indigenous People's Struggles  is stepping up to meet Darlene's call for material support. We are now organizing a two week trip to Darlene’s community to bring activists from a variety of different communities and organizations to help in this direct form of people to people solidarity.  

It is not just the home that were building --  we are also building the all-important personal and political relationships upon which a political movement to seek social justice requires.

We are asking for $5,000  -- as an acheivable online goal -- to cover the cost of building materials and transportation in order to start and complete the cabin build in two weeks.

However, we need another $5,000 to sustain this homebuilding movement work during and beyond the trip. Please help us surpass the goal on this site!! The money will go to the ILPS Commission in Support of Indigenous People's Struggles, which will purchase all the supplies and organize the transportation
to the territory.

We have beautiful gifts to offer for your much appreciated donations! We have a variety of hand-made Native crafts made by a young family in Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, as well as by an Ojibway woman who is helping to organize this cabin build project.

We are offering back issues of the Upping the Anti Journal -- a Journal of Theory and Action. We can also offer the Land Defenders Mixtape -- a mix of revolutionary tracks from Native and non-Native artists who all speak to the need to defend the land.

The Impact:

Your contribution will help address one of the most fundamental injustices created by colonialism. It will go directly to a struggle to address homelessness and protect the land. A fight for social justice and Mother Earth, is a fight for all of us.

The grassroots group of Saugeen women and the ILPS Commission in Support of Indigenous People's Struggles are experienced in leading and supporting strong efforts to seek justice for Indigenous communities.

Faced with continued inaction from local, regional, and national leaders, Darlene and other women decided they had to take action themselves.

In  2011 -- without institutional or government support -- they came together to build a log cabin for Ameila Skunk, an elder in the community who was suffering frostbite year after year due to living in a building originally built as a chicken barn in 1911.

Thanks to the efforts of Darlene and her friends, Amelia Skunk now lives in a safe, warm, and well constructed log cabin home. For more info and photos."

Right now (Sunday May 19, 2013, they have raised $4,935.00 towards their $5,000 goal. You would be helping build something tangible and long lasting in the community.

For more information, please check their fundraising site here.


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