idle no more site
“Idle No More calls on all people to join in a peaceful revolution, to honour Indigenous sovereignty, and to protect the land and water”
[canada, turtle island]
– – –
– — –
Idle No More @ Peoples Climate March in New York
“The first step towards reimagining a world gone terribly wrong would be to stop the annihilation of those who have a different imagination—an imagination that is outside of capitalism as well as communism. An imagination which has an altogether different understanding of what constitutes happiness and fulfillment. To gain this philosophical space, it is necessary to concede some physical space for the survival of those who may look like the keepers of our past, but who may really be the guides to our future.” —Arundhati Roy, 20101
I suddenly understood what this actually meant: some of the most marginalized people in my country—many of them, like all the senior members of the Lameman clan, survivors of the intergenerational trauma of abusive residential schools—are taking on some of the wealthiest and most powerful forces on the planet. Their heroic battles are not just their people’s best chance of a healthy future; if court challenges like Beaver Lake’s can succeed in halting tar sands expansion, they could very well be the best chance for the rest of us to continue enjoying a climate that is hospitable to human.
That is a huge burden to bear and that these communities are bearing it with shockingly little support from the rest of us is an unspeakable social injustice.
It is this gap between rights and resources—between what the law says and what impoverished people are able to force vastly more powerful entities to do—that government and industry have banked on for years.
What is changing is that the many non-Native people are starting to realize that INdigenous rights – if aggressivley backed by court challenges, direct action, and mass movements demanding that they be respected – may now represent the most powerful barriers protecting all of us from a future of climate chaos.
which is why, in many cases, the movements against extreme energy extraction are becoming more than just battles against specific oil, gas, and coal companies and more, even, than pro-democracy movements. they are opening up spaces for a historical reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and non-Natives, who are finally understanding that, at a time when elected officials have open disdain for basic democratic principles, Indigenous rights are not a threat, but a tremendous gift. Because the original INdigenous treaty negotiators in much of North America had the foresight to include language protecting their right to continue living off their traditional lands, they bequeathed to all residents of these and many other countries the legal tools to demand that our governments refrain from finishing the job of flaying the planet.
In New Brunswick, Suzanne Patles, a Mi’kmaq woman involved in the anti-fracking movement, described how non-Natives “have reached out to the Indigenous people to say ‘we need help.’ ”27 Which is something of a turnaround from the saviorism and pitying charity that have poisoned relationships between Indigenous peoples and well-meaning liberals for far too long.