Canadian Solidarity Movement Gets Local Support
Entering from the parking lot, I was halfway into JC Penney when sounds not typically heard at Steeplegate Mall reached my ears. From the store’s doorway I saw somewhere between 50 and 100 people dancing, chanting, and drumming in the mall courtyard.
A few signs that said “Idle No More” identified the group with the indigenous solidarity movement that has spread from Canada in the past month.
“On December 10th, Indigenous people and allies stood in solidarity across Canada to assert Indigenous sovereignty and begin the work towards sustainable, renewable development,” writes Devon Meekis on the official Idle No More website. Meekis adds:
“All people will be affected by the continued damage to the land and water and we welcome Indigenous and non-Indigenous allies to join in creating healthy sustainable communities. We encourage youth to become engaged in this movement as you are the leaders of our future. There have always been individuals and groups who have been working towards these goals – Idle No More seeks to create solidarity and further support these goals. We recognize that there may be backlash, and encourage people to stay strong and united in spirit.”
The movement began in Saskatchewan as a protest against a Canadian law, C-45, pushed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which threatens indigenous sovereignty.
Peter Newell of the NH Inter-Tribal Council said mall security officers told them not to hold their protest, but did not take any action to stop it. The demonstration went on for about a half hour, with a dozen people drumming and chanting as fifty or more people circled around them dancing slowly and rhythmically in a clockwise direction.
A day of action is planned for January 28, when the Canadian Parliament resumes in Ottawa.
According to an Idle No More press release,
“The Vision of IDLE NO MORE revolves around Indigenous Ways of Knowing rooted in Indigenous Sovereignty to protect water, air, land and all creation for future generations.
“The Conservative government bills beginning with Bill C-45 threaten Treaties and this Indigenous Vision of Sovereignty.
“The Goal of the movement is education and the revitalization of Indigenous peoples through Awareness and Empowerment. IDLE NO MORE has successfully encouraged knowledge sharing of Indigenous Sovereignty and Environmental Protections.”
With shoppers passing by it was a little hard to tell who was in the demonstration and who wasn’t. But it was clear that the spirit was peaceful and boisterous, and that Idle No More has a future in New Hampshire.
Idle No More has a substantial presence on Facebook, with 72,299 “Likes” as of this morning.