The Idle No More movement that has swept across Canada is taking root in Oregon as well, with a flashmob Dec. 23 at Portland’s Pioneer Place mall and another round dance flashmob planned for 5 pm Dec. 29 at Eugene’s Valley River Center. A Facebook page organizing the VRC flashmob says singers will begin at 5 pm in the middle of the mall and says for participants to gather round, dance and support when the singing begins and to part ways when it ends.
Idle No More is a campaign for indigenous rights, sovereignty and environmental justice that began in Canada in part as a response to Canada’s omnibus bill C-45 that “amends the Fisheries Act, the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and the Canada Labour Code” according to Indian Country Today. The bill passed the Canadian Senate on Dec. 14. The Idle No More movement however is more than just that legislation, according to the INM website. The Idle No More manifesto says, in part:
The state of Canada has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world by using the land and resources. Canadian mining, logging, oil and fishing companies are the most powerful in the world due to land and resources. Some of the poorest First Nations communities (such as Attawapiskat) have mines or other developments on their land but do not get a share of the profit. The taking of resources has left many lands and waters poisoned – the animals and plants are dying in many areas in Canada. We cannot live without the land and water. We have laws older than this colonial government about how to live with the land.
Among the environmental concerns brought up by the new legislation are the tar sands, fossil fuel pipelines and other mining.
In addition to the rallies and flashmobs that have brought attention to the movement, Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence began a hunger strike on Dec. 11, drinking only fish broth and medicinal tea. She has announced she will not eat until there is a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a representative of the queen of England to address the broken relationship with indigenous peoples and treaty rights.
Democracy Now featured an interview with Idle No More Spokeswoman Pamela Palmater Dec. 26.