Change the conversation, support today.

This statement was issued today by L’Association pour une solidarité syndicale étudiante (ASSÉ). 

Last year the streets of Quebec vibrated to the rhythm of hundreds of thousands of marching feet, as our student strike against an increase in university tuition fees blossomed into the political awakening of a society.

Today, malls and public squares and railways across Canada are vibrating to another rhythm, the drum beat of a surging and inspiring movement of Indigenous peoples, for cultural renewal, for land rights, for environmental protection, and for decolonization.

The red feather, worn on the lapel of those in the Idle No More movement in Quebec, symbolises union behind a common struggle. We thus think that our struggles can be joined and together strengthened, and this is why we’ll wear the red feather as we have worn the red square.

If 2012 was the year of our Maple Spring, we are ready to greet the Native spring of 2013.

We stand in solidarity with Idle No More. We stand in solidarity with Indigenous hunger strikers Theresa Spence, Emil Bell, Raymond Robinson, Aniesh Vollant and Janet Pilot from the Quebec Innu community of Uashat, and others whose names we have not yet learned.

We are a student union, but the scope of our vision has always been about more than education. Ours is a fight against an elite who cannot see beyond the next quarter’s profit, an elite for whom nature has value only when measured in economic spin-offs.

Indigenous peoples have been the greatest victims of this elite’s agenda to plunder resources in Quebec and Canada. But in the territories of the Algonquins, the Innu, the Mohawk, the Atikamekw, and elsewhere, they have also been this agenda’s fiercest opponents.

Because of their aboriginal rights, Indigenous peoples have the best chance to stop the destruction of our shared lands and waters and to manage them sustainably. We should support these struggles, in the name of mutual respect.

We want to think and act for the generations to come.

Now is the time for overcoming old divides by building new alliances. For too long native and non-native peoples have been pitted against another, precisely because this elite feared nothing more than the discovery of our mutual interests.

ASSÉ has already begun a process to develop a proposal for a pan-Canadian coalition that would unite Indigenous, Quebec and Canadian social movements. Together, we can defeat this assault against the people who live on this land.

Continuons le combat. 

Let the struggle continue.