Idle No More (INM)’S Canadian Concerns

As of February, 2013, from Talli Nauman, “Canada’s Idle No More Indigenous Movement Sets Stage for Latin American Involvement,” AmericasProgram, March 9, 2013, http://www.cipamericas.org/archives/9126.

In response to actions of the Canadian Government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper violating the rights of First nations Idle No more called for:

 An immediate meeting between the Crown, the federal and provincial governments, and all First Nations to discuss treaty and non-treaty-related relationships.

Clear work plans and timelines, and a demand that the housing crisis within First Nations communities be considered as a short-term immediate action.

Frameworks and mandates for implementation and enforcement of treaties on a nation-to-nation basis. Reforming and modifying a land-claims policy.

A commitment towards resource revenue sharing, requiring the participation of provinces and territories.

A commitment towards sustained environmental oversight over First Nations lands. A review of Bill C-38 and C-45 to ensure consistency with constitutional requirements about consultation with aboriginal peoples. Ensure that all federal legislation has the consent of First Nations where inherent and Treaty rights are affected. The removal of funding caps and the indexing of payments made to First Nations. An inquiry into violence against indigenous women. Equity in capital construction of First Nation schools and additional funding support for First Nation languages.

A dedicated cabinet committee and secretariat within the Privy Council Office responsible for the First Nation-Crown relationship.

Full implementation of the United Nations declaration of the rights of indigenous peoples.

The demands were backed by a “Manifesto”, also dated Jan. 24, which stated the principles behind them (available on the INM web site: http://www.idlenomore.ca/manifesto):

• We contend that: The treaties are nation to nation agreements between The Crown and First Nations who are sovereign nations. The treaties are agreements that cannot be altered or broken by one side of the two nations. The spirit and intent of the treaty agreements meant that First Nations peoples would share the land, but retain their inherent rights to lands and resources. Instead, First Nations have experienced a history of colonization which has resulted in outstanding land claims, lack of resources and unequal funding for services such as education and housing.

• We contend that: 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 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.

• We contend that: Currently, this government is trying to pass many laws so that reserve lands can also be bought and sold by big companies to get profit from resources. They are promising to share this time…Why would these promises be different from past promises? We will be left with nothing but poisoned water, land and air. This is an attempt to take away sovereignty and the inherent right to land and resources from First Nations peoples.

• We contend that: There are many examples of other countries moving towards sustainability, and we must demand sustainable development as well. We believe in healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities and have a vision and plan of how to build them. Please join us in creating this vision.

Dissidents went on to gather more than 1,030 signatures on an Internet petition for delivery Feb. 28 to Harper and the Conservative Party, stating:

“We, the Canadian people, want the government to revisit Omnibus Bill C-45, take out the re-designation of aboriginal land rights, and re-protect our navigable waterways, lakes and rivers.”

More about Idle No More is available on its web site: http://www.idlenomore.ca/, including the Idle No More Vision, Written by Jessica Gordon, January 21, 2013, “INM has and will continue to help build sovereignty & resurgence of nationhood, INM will continue to pressure government and industry to protect the environment. INM will continue to build allies in order to reframe the nation to nation relationship, this will be done by including grassroots perspectives, issues and concerns.”

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