“We have a deep and incredibly poisonous relationship with the Indian Act and the long roots of colonization. The Idle No More movement calls for an end to this relationship. The Idle No More movement is beginning to reawaken the spirits of the People.
We have a lot to unlearn.
We have to find our place in the circle and Idle No More is calling people back to the circle. We’re in the process of repairing ourselves as individuals, families, communities & Nations.
Everything we do is political – we are Anishinaabe.”
(quoted from this post)
This is a beautifully personal and deeply aware essay that I hope everyone will take the time to read. All of my life I have looked up to and admired activists and thinkers who I later discovered to be Nish people. When I was older I met a young lady who was so wise and knowledgeable I mistook her for a professor, when she was in fact an Anishinaabe college student. Her friendship and kindness, along with that great wisdom and knowledge had a far greater effect on my life than she is probably aware of.
Even tho Anishinaabe people are not the only ones who experience a lot of what this essay describes, many Nish people do seem to be natural leaders with a talent for speaking and writing in ways that touch a listener or reader and open our understanding.
Nearly everyone on Earth has now been colonized or is a descendant of people who have been-it has shaped our modern world into a non-culture of non-awareness. Because of this, every act of becoming more aware, of learning about your history, ancestors and real cultures is a political act. Every time we open our eyes and our minds to ideas beyond the narrow limits of the consumer “culture” box we are trained to live in, it is a political act, an act of liberation.
IdleNoMore is indeed calling us all to awaken, to rejoin the circle, heal ourselves and our communities and support one another in taking back the power from those who see all power as power-over-others, as power-to-consume-and-profit.
This essay affected me deeply, perhaps because I have some very similar experiences being mixed race and growing up far from any of my ancestors lands, always feeling not quite enough, out of place everywhere, a sort of imposition on all the people who ‘belong’ . I feel like the author is speaking to all of us, not just Native people, because even tho for many colonization happened so long ago it’s bitter effects are invisible, they are real.
Modern society has a pervasive sense of loss and emptiness that has been much written about but never resolved. I think this is because what is missing was stolen so long ago the people no longer recall what it was. Native people still remember what was stolen, and many are finding and creating ways to get it back, to rebuild what was destroyed by colonization.
It is my hope that people will come together to support First Nations people in IdleNoMore and discover not only the power of Solidarity to change the world and topple corruption and greed, but also that we ALL have a lot to unlearn. We all are called back to the circle, to heal ourselves and our communities, to rebuild a world for us all that is based on love instead of greed.
by Ryan McMahon
Want to listen to the audio version instead? Go listen to it here!
“Everything you do, Grandson, is going to be political. You’re Anishinaabe.”
Those are the words of my Grandmother.
My Grandmother wasn’t a politician or a cultural leader in any sort of way. She was a beadworker and a master of the various trades that involved moose hides. She was a good hunter and an excellent fisherman. One of my first memories I have of my Grandma was her pulling up to my parents house in the middle of the afternoon with a dead deer she had shot while hunting in Minnesota. We lived in Ontario. She drove across the US/Canada border with a dead buck on the hood of her car. I imagine the Customs officer had a hard time letting her cross that day. I can hear her stubborn defense for bringing…
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