Spirit In Action

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Indigenous Sovereignty and Human Rights: Idle No More as a Decolonizing Force

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After reading an article called “stupid no more” from Kevin Annett posted on MNN I *felt* that it was condescending and simply not getting the real point, my gut feeling was that the man was piqued that attention was being drawn away from his pet project more than anything. The excerpt below gives a very clear and sensible counterpoint to the charges in the MNN piece, and I hope you will all go and read the entire article-I am very grateful to have found this blog!
“At first I was skeptical about the Idle No More movement. I didn’t want to lead my people to the government and beg for rights and responsibilities that the Creator gave to us. But I became involved with Idle No More because I could feel the energy of the youth rising and I did not want this energy to go to waste. I wanted to show them that the energy which we as peoples often internalize in negative ways is better directed to challenging the colonial framework that operates in all our lives. As the movement grows, the challenge of Idle No More is to continue moving beyond rhetoric and towards a fundamental reconfiguration of the colonial structure of Canada. Above and beyond, it must always be more than an emotionally frothy appeal to the Canadian government for justice and morality. We must be strategic, yet we must also act on the nation-to-nation spirit and intent of Treaty. The message of love, peace, and non-violent protest is essential to the movement. With this spirit at the forefront, we must seek to educate Settler populations and heal our Indigenous nations from the processes of genocide which we have experienced. Idle No More means re-establishing ourselves as sovereign nations, and empowering Settler people to fulfill their responsibilities as partners in sacred relationships of Treaty.”

Decolonization

by Kirstin Scansen

Last week I was compelled into a leadership role with the Prince Albert Idle No More rally. Prince Albert is a growing city in central Saskatchewan, with a population of about 35,000. The traditional Nehithaw place name is kistahpinanihk, which means “meeting place”. Prince Albert has a high Indigenous population and is surrounded by key sites in the history of Treaty 6. It would be ideal to say that Indigenous-Settler relations here have been harmonious, a peaceful meeting place of sorts, but the presence of colonialism is heavy. Surrounded by medium and maximum security prisons, housed disproportionately with Indigenous inmates, oppression can be felt strongly. Racism and racialised violence are pervasive. But there is also a strong regional history of Indigenous resurgence and resistance to colonialism; key sites of the Riel Rebellion are within a 30 minute drive from city limits, and Indigenous languages, ceremonies, and land-based…

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Author: ohnwentsya

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5 thoughts on “Indigenous Sovereignty and Human Rights: Idle No More as a Decolonizing Force

  1. I wish you, your family & friends a wonderfully joyous and healthy, safe, fun Happy New Year….See you right back here next year….Namaste.

  2. I think Annett deserves some respect (maybe quite a lot) for putting his career and reputation on the line to bring light to what has been perpetrated against native people. We were always taught that there was no genocide in Canada and, unlike the Americans, we chose to negotiate with native people for their lands. As time goes on, we are clearly seeing that this is not exactly accurate. Sure, there were negotiations but that wasn’t the whole story.

    I recall when I first heard of his lawsuit and I thought it was pretty far-fetched but, as time goes on, many people are waking up to what was actually happening and it doesn’t sit well with anyone but the most cruel and greedy.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that there are many people working against you; he is clearly for you. If there is someone who is on your side and is willing to make those kinds of sacrifices, it is better to elaborate on what the ‘real point’ is rather than taking anything away from him. We can only gain understanding by discourse and he exposed, with consequences to himself, a whole era of Canadian and aboriginal history that there was no understanding of before.

    That’s my opinion anyway.

    • Thank you for your comment. I have published Annett before and will surely do so again-it was just that the article “stupid no more” was patronising and insulting. It *felt* to me like he wrote about it in the way that he did because he felt that the attention to #IdleNoMore was a distraction from what he is doing.

      While I respect very much what he has accomplished, there have been complaints from First Nations people whose stories he has shared without their permission. While we all have to learn to work together to get things done, that does not mean that everyone will agree all the time, or that feelings will not get hurt, or people will not have problems with others on the “same side” as them.

      I appreciated some of the info he shared in that article, I just did not appreciate the overall tone and attitude it displayed. The implication that First Nations people are not smart enough-that we are just pawns is untrue. However #IdleNoMore began, it is not controlled by anyone corporate or otherwise, because it is a massive uprising of individuals who are acting independently based on their own creative choices.

      One of the ways elites try to invalidate and destroy grass roots movements is these baseless claims that they are pawns of some power group or other-it creates division and animosity and was used very effectively against the movements in the 1960’s and 70’s.

      Like Occupy, which was accused of being a pawn of Soros(it was not) #IdleNoMore is a people based ground upward movement. When there have been calls for leaders to exert control they have immediately met resistance from the people involved.

      I only commented on his article because I have respect for him and what he has accomplished, tho I do find it really disturbing and sad that people could not hear the truth until it came from a white man. I apologize if my comments appeared disrespectful to Mr Annett, I did not intend disrespect, only disagreement with that particular article. One of the best books I ever read was called The Fourth World and it was written by a Canadian First Nations man, George Manuel. It came out in the 1970’s. So the information was there long before Annett started his work.

      It will take all of us working together to fix the many things that have been done to ALL of us in secrecy for so long.I believe that even tho this current uprising is led by Canadian First Nations people the wrongs being exposed are not only against First Nations but against all of us-after all if the water and air are polluted and poisoned do we all not breathe and drink?

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