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Yesterday Canada's First Nations Idle No More movement's Day of Action staged an peaceful uprising all across Canada. Dozens of of main roads and rail routes were peacefully blockaded by predominantly indigenous protesters demonstrating against the current government's unilateral nullification of Fist Nation's Treaty Rights, included in a sweeping budget bill passed last year.

These unilateral changes to First Nations Treaty Rights were made at the behest of Canada's increasingly powerful dirty energy Oil, Coal, and Tar Sands industries, and implemented by Canada's ruling conservative coalition headed by the Conservative Party's Prime Minister Steven Harper. PM Harper has been called Canada's George Bush for his cozy relationship the dirty energy corporations. That cozy relationship was never made more obvious as it was with the blatant favors for Big Energy that were written into the awful Budget Bill. Provisions that in effect took away Canada's First Nations ability to control the way Big Energy corporations could use First Nation Tribal Reserve lands for energy related developments including coal mining, tar sands extraction, oil drilling, and construction of dirty energy pipelines across Fist Nation Reserves.

Idle No More gains momentum in Canada

By Stephanie Whiteside /

The Idle No More movement began with the introduction of a series of bills that affect First Nation peoples and aboriginals. The first to stir outrage was Bill C 45, which includes changes to the Indian Act that would make it easier to lease tribal lands. When organizers for Idle No More attempted to meet with members of Parliament, they were refused entry.

Idle No More is also concerned about any legislation that reduces environmental protections and, according to Idle No More organizers, shows the government's disregard toward First Nation peoples and aboriginals. And the movement is a response to nongovernmental issues as well, including tuberculosis epidemics, high levels of suicide and incarceration, and hundreds of missing aboriginal women.

Idle No More, like Occupy, has grown through committed activists who use social media tools to spread its message and organize its efforts. It also gives a voice to those whose voices go unheard yet who are still deeply affected by the results of legislation. Idle No More has made use of social media to organize and inspire solidarity efforts around the globe. The latest effort was the Day of Action event with a movement in Windsor, Ont. The Day of Action tied up traffic and trade at Canada's biggest border crossing with the U.S., into and out of Detroit. The movement has included other blockades and hunger strikes in protest.

The Budget Bill  unilaterally diminished First Nation's sovereignty over their tribal Reserves without any negotiations or agreement from the First Nations peoples they were imposing these unjust changes on.
'Idle No More': Protesters slow down economic activity across Canada

First Nations demonstrators stopped railway traffic lines between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal this afternoon, while others stalled major highways and rail lines in parts of Manitoba, Alberta, New Brunswick and Ontario as part of the Idle No More Movement's national day of action.

Protesters also gathered at in Windsor, Ont. near the Ambassador Bridge to Michigan, slowing down traffic to North America's busiest border crossing for several hours, the CBC's Allison Johnson reported.

Activities including rallies, possible blockades and prayer circles were planned across the country Wednesday as part of the grassroots movement calling for more attention to changes that were contained in Bill C-45, the Conservative government's controversial omnibus budget bill that directly affected First Nations communities.


The forces of repression are not sitting idly by. They are trying to spread fear.

Alberta’s top cop upset over tactics by Idle No More

By Ian Campbell

Denis fears actions like these could lead to rioting and plans to meet with the chiefs of police from Calgary, Edmonton and the RCMP to discuss a plan of action.

He says his office has received several calls from Albertans who want the protests shut down but adds he has to make one thing clear, that’s up to the police.

They’ll sit down face to face Monday to discuss the handling of blockades, ahead of a vow from protestors to shut down Highway 63.

I think we can expect more authoritarian moves to shut down the use of civil disobedience in upcoming blockades being planned. And many more protests are bing planned.

This article comes out of Victoria British Columbia's capital, located about 32 miles West of my home.

Idle No More protests just the beginning, B.C. chief says


Idle No More protests are the start of a larger movement that will bring together a broad cross-section of First Nations and non-indigenous communities, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs president Stewart Phillip predicted Wednesday.

“I think people are starting to connect the dots and understand this is about a humanitarian crisis and crushing poverty in aboriginal communities, but also very much about the environment,” said Phillip, who was in Greater Victoria for the Idle No More demonstration that blocked the Patricia Bay Highway on Wednesday.

The crossover between the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline protests and Idle No More demonstrations show an increasing number of people are trying to defend Canada’s environment in the face of the Harper government’s omnibus bills, Phillip said.

This study caused a national scandal when its damming conclusions were released last year:

The Epidemiology of Suicide Among Aboriginal People in Canada

Idle No More Sweeps Canada and Beyond as Aboriginals Say Enough Is Enough


Winnipeg, Manitoba, broadcaster and Anishnaabe musician Wab Kinew told Indian Country Today Media Network that Idle No More has grown from a reaction to Bill C-45, to a broader movement.

“Idle No More is definitely about indigenous rights, culture and sovereignty,” he said. “But the ideals that underlie it are ones that matter to all Canadians—they're about rights, freedom, the environment, preserving a positive environment for our children.”

I am in complete solidarity with Idle No More, and its goals to give a voice to Canada's First Nations who have been further marginalized by Canada's Conservative ruling coalition as a favor to its patrons the corporate energy giants.

Idle No More on Facebook

Originally posted to Lefty Coaster on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:14 PM PST.

Also republished by EcoJustice, Climate Hawks, Invisible People, Native American Netroots, Canadian Kossacks, Occupy Wall Street, and DK GreenRoots.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips for Canada's First Nations (231+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, jan4insight, HugoDog, TexMex, NMRed, Bob Love, James Wells, Mary Mike, Shockwave, too many people, S F Hippie, pitbullgirl65, pimutant, Gowrie Gal, OrangeMike, UncleCharlie, jayden, penguins4peace, Mentatmark, Railfan, monkeybrainpolitics, KenBee, Lady Libertine, sb, blackjackal, dsb, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, JayRaye, marsanges, Ojibwa, Tool, weck, Rogneid, Assaf, mrsgoo, dmhlt 66, Interplaydave, Deep Harm, shortgirl, leonard145b, renzo capetti, temptxan, zmom, carolyn urban, StonyB, CanadaGoose, leftykook, One Pissed Off Liberal, True North, porchdog1961, addisnana, Agathena, Pakalolo, Steven D, TiaRachel, Steveningen, whenwego, blueoasis, Simple, CuriousBoston, Fire bad tree pretty, Brian82, Smoh, Glen The Plumber, Trial Lawyer Richard, Jim P, asterkitty, SeaTurtle, RandomNonviolence, zozie, flowerfarmer, PinHole, shanikka, wayoutinthestix, JekyllnHyde, Susipsych, Illinois IRV, orlbucfan, jolux, wader, Alumbrados, The Free Agent, gizmo59, nuclear winter solstice, helpImdrowning, ladybug53, peachcreek, ninkasi23, Alise, ZenTrainer, shaharazade, zestyann, navajo, sofia, Gustogirl, skyounkin, marina, RebeccaG, betson08, Meteor Blades, FloridaSNMOM, oldliberal, peagreen, Simplify, yuriwho, collardgreens, whoknu, PrometheusUnbound, Horace Boothroyd III, petulans, gnostradamus, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Egg, randallt, theunreasonableHUman, Fresno, Aaa T Tudeattack, shigeru, cotterperson, sfinx, Lorinda Pike, Fe, Ray Pensador, old wobbly, US Blues, DawnN, tofumagoo, Chaddiwicker, Nadnerb in NC, Eowyn9, technomage, foresterbob, Regina in a Sears Kit House, NonnyO, justiceputnam, nicolemm, AverageJoe42, Lily O Lady, Cat Servant, Debs2, toys, thomask, doppler effect, LinSea, begone, tegrat, Marjmar, NBBooks, AoT, Kristin in WA, fiddlingnero, sturunner, Ignacio Magaloni, kaliope, Joy of Fishes, badger, SolarMom, humphrey, meralda, badscience, mollyd, Mimikatz, Words In Action, boomerchick, basquebob, wonmug, Nulwee, 207wickedgood, DanC, uciguy30, AgavePup, Loose Fur, fixxit, Matt Z, SanFernandoValleyMom, 6412093, squarewheel, walkshills, flitedocnm, deltadoc, chimene, Puddytat, glorificus, riverlover, Yogurt721, elwior, asym, The Wizard, deepeco, cuphalffull, Ocelopotamus, mofembot, Burned, Helpless, radarlady, ivote2004, Pat K California, jcrit, eeff, Tom Anderson, Marek, jts327, aravir, SouthernLiberalinMD, Amber6541, dear occupant, lennysfo, eagleray, newfie, Leftcandid, angry hopeful liberal, Caddis Fly, Temmoku, no way lack of brain, RunawayRose, dotsright, profewalt, ewmorr, jbob, Pale Jenova, divineorder, Leeloo, teloPariah, mkor7, Tinfoil Hat, redlum jak, Robynhood too, isabelle hayes, MusicFarmer, SilentNoMore, CA wildwoman

    Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:14:41 PM PST

  •  So We Continue To Oppress Indiginous People ie. (32+ / 0-)

    Canadian Indians and American Indians, can't both countries give equal rights to all citizens?   Why are we yet again, in Canada, having this fight with corpoate, international and gaovernmental bodies?   I could use alot more education on indiginous people's issues,  I have a hunch that the term "equal rights" is not the whole answer to this long standing historical issue.  

  •  Canada is getting interesting again (43+ / 0-)

    I hope all Canadians join in and get rid of the Conservative government. They can do it with their parliamentary system.

    I love Canada, lived there over 1 year and they are one of the best examples of how to implement Single Payer in America.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 01:37:10 PM PST

  •  Taking it to the streets (23+ / 0-)

    Standing up for their home planet.
    Showing everyone how it's done.
    More please.

    The Aggressively Ignorant Caucus is getting aggressively ignorant again.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 02:16:28 PM PST

  •  Blame Ignatieff. (11+ / 0-)

    He decided he wanted Harper to remain more than he wanted himself as PM with Jack Layton as Deputy.

    He Fucked up the Grits permanently and let all this happen.

    •  More than just him (6+ / 0-)

      Some inner circle of the Liberal Party decided Ignatieff was the guy, the next Trudeau, and they engaged in a lot of politicking to get him into Parliament, and then into the leadership.

      He was a poor choice and a poor candidate.

    •  Um, that's perhaps an oversimplified (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      view of this episode of political history. Though I sympathize.

      Babylon system is the vampire... ~Bob Marley

      by sfinx on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:17:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree with you (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lefty Coaster, skwimmer, ontario

        the whole diary is an over simplified 'good guys versus bad guys" argument.  While I'm sympathetic with the notion of improving the lot of our First Nations people, the fact that is not mentioned in the article is that governments of various parties over the past 6 decades have poured billiions of dollars into First Nations causes, land claims, housing, healthcare etc etc and there is very little to show for it.  The Chief who has been conducting the hunger strike, loosely linked to Idle No More" has been shown by audit to have mismanged and miappropriated over $100 million dollars in federal government aid including appointing her live in boyfriend as band administrator at $100k per year.  Tens of thousands of dollars have been paid to unknown parties. The sad part is that this is a common story across the country.  Leadership of First Nations groups is fragmented, incoherent and unfocused.  The agenda changes day to day.  Yes, the federal government under both Liberals and Conservatives wants to develop energy resources and often this means using some corridor in First Nations territory.  Some of the payments for these arrangements have been astronomical and the state of development in the recipient bands is still third world.  This is a much more complex issue than this diary lets on.  It's easy to jump on this bandwagon because it is so trendy.  But not much will change unless the First Nations peoples themselves take some leadership and accountability for their own people.  Not very politically correct to say these things but after years of a ringside seat and much direct personal involvement, I think it's the truth

        •  I'm always suspect when they attack the messanger (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Burned, Leftcandid, divineorder

          and avoid their message.

          Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

          by Lefty Coaster on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 01:05:50 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Thanks for your diary! (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Great diary and sorry I missed it until today.

            Fully agree with you that we need to be suspect when they attack the messenger and avoid the message.

            Harper tried last year to blame Chief Spence for the housing crisis. Her reserve Attawapiskat took the Harper government to federal court, and won. The judge ruled that the appointment of a third-party manager was "unreasonable," that there was no evidence of mismanagement or financial impropriety, and that the core - and unaddressed - issue in Attawapiskat was a lack of funding for housing. Presciently, he added:

            "This judicial review confirms, if such confirmation were needed, that decisions made in the glare of publicity and amidst politically charged debate do not always lead to a reasonable resolution of the relevant issue," Justice Michael Phelan wrote.
            Instead, when there was renewed public debate about the poverty of First Nations and attention again focused on Chief Spence, Harper leaked the audit "amidst politically charged debate." I will respond later to the allegation that prompted your comment, named that Chief Spence "misappropriated over $100 million" dollars and explain what the audit actually said.

            Again, so glad to see your diary!

        •  It sounds to me like (4+ / 0-)

          the Energy companies want to have their way with Canada the same as they have with the U.S. and there just happened to be pro-First Nations law in the way, which they've now gotten rid of.

          Whatever might be going on with First Nations internal politics or your opinion of the chief doing the hunger strike, I'm seeing a pattern here all too familiar.

          Those of us south of your border know all too well what happens to ordinary people, including landowners, when "the federal government under both Liberals and Conservatives wants to develop energy resources."

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:59:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, I don't know what pattern that is (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            This is not a problem that can be solved with an unbalanced approach.  Like I said, this is not bad guys and good guys--it's much more complex than that.  Extracting energy and mineral resources is not exactly a new phenomenon here in Canada and doing so often involves native lands and band leadership have been all too willing to take the big dollars for it.  Not much shows up in terms of living conditions, health, education etc.  There is a growing public impatience with this and it's well founded.  But the crusade goes on

            •  Down here we already have (0+ / 0-)

              an unbalanced approach.

              The energy companies get what they want.

              the pattern is:  large conservative coalitions form in government. government finds laws that might get in the way of energy companies doing whatever the hell they want. government takes those laws apart. energy companies proceed to do what they want.

              I'm not just trying to score points in a discussion here; I'm seriously telling you:  you don't want a situation up there like we've got down here. Once business interests end up dominating legal and public discussion, getting any kind of real balance back is extraordinarily hard.

              I understand that some band leaders might well be inclined to jump on the corporate gravy train, just like mainstream white politicians do. That doesn't change my point.

              if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

              by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:11:35 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Were you in DIAND? We seem to have had similar (0+ / 0-)

          experiences along the way. I was not in DIAND. Have noticed this before as we seem to read and comment on similar diaries. Message me if you wish.

          "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

          by ontario on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:01:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Facts (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          I do understand that media reports have tried to allege that the "Chief who has been conducting the hunger strike, loosely linked to Idle No More has been shown by audit to have mismanged and miappropriated over $100 million dollars in federal government aid." I was surprised to find that allegation repeated here at DailyKos.

          Here's what I wrote about the audit several days ago:

          Four days before the planned meeting between the government and First Nations leaders, and responding to the growing support for Idle No More and Chief Spence, the Harper government again made a decision "in the glare of publicity and amidst politically charged debate." Canadian media started reporting on a "scathing audit" by Deloitte & Touche allegedly documenting Chief Spence's financial improprieties, and within a few hours the report suddenly appeared on the website of Aboriginal Affairs. In fact, the document had been finalized two and half months earlier (after two five-day trips by a team of five to Attawapiskat early last year and additional time in Ottawa, and ten months of preparation to write 60-pages in English and another 60-pages of the same content in French.)

          The main allegation of the report was that the band had not provided proper documentation and paper trails for its expenses. Anyone familiar with the realities of reserve conditions knows that: "The Deloitte & Touche audit of Attawapiskat is a textbook outcome of the fatal weakness in Canada's current model of First Nations governance, which is coded to fail. There could be hundreds of Attawapiskats."

          The highly respected previous Auditor General, Sheila Fraser, issued her final report to Parliament in 2011 after years of outstanding service. She chose to focus on the intolerable conditions on First Nations reserves, and detailed the conditions which are the true scandal uncovered by the Deloitte audit:

          "Contribution agreements involve a significant reporting burden, especially for small First Nations with limited administrative capacity. Communities often have to use scarce administrative resources to respond to numerous reporting requirements stipulated in their agreements. We followed up on Aboriginal Affairs efforts to reduce the reporting requirements of First Nations and found progress to date to be unsatisfactory..."
          Each First Nation has to file, on average, 160 reports per year to AANDC. As the Auditor General noted in her report:
          The federal government established each First Nation band as an autonomous entity and provides separate program funding to each. Many of these First Nations are small, consisting of communities that often have fewer than 500 residents. There are more than 600 First Nations across Canada. Many of them are hampered by the lack of expertise to meet the administrative requirements for delivering key programs within their reserves. They often do not have the benefit of school boards, health boards, or other regional bodies to support the First Nations as they provide services to community members.
          Instead of addressing capacity-building on reserves and streamlining accounting requirements to focus on the priorities for transparent finances, Harper's response has been to propose legislation requiring even more onerous reporting requirements, including full public financial records for all band-owned businesses, putting them at a clear competitive disadvantage with off-reserve companies. This proposed legislation is one of several opposed by the founders of Idle No More.

          Here are a few additional points regarding this so-called "scathing audit."

          Because the band was already under co-management, the actual audit was not of Attawapiskat itself, but an "Audit of the AANDC [the federal ministry] and Attawapiskat First Nation Management Control Framework." As quoted from the audit:

          The scope for this audit was April 1, 2005 to November 30, 2011 and included an examination of the AANDC management control framework for housing and an examination of AANDC’s relationship with other federal funders for housing. The scope included audit procedures performed at AANDC Headquarters and the AANDC Ontario North Regional Office (located in Thunder Bay), which is AANDC’s primary support office for the Attawapiskat First Nation.

          While the roles and responsibilities of other federal funders (i.e. CMHC and Health Canada) were reviewed and these departments were consulted for this audit, only AANDC internal controls were examined and tested as part of the audit scope. Where applicable, observations related to the practices of other federal funders were communicated to their respective senior management.

          The report covered almost seven years, but Chief Spence only had responsibility for the last year and half of the audit period. "[O]f the 409 transactions in Attawapiskat that Deloitte and Touche said lacked proper documentation, only about 30 were conducted on Spence's watch." In fact, it is clear that during her tenure progress was made towards better documentation than in previous administrations, including when last year's third-party manager was the co-manager for the federal ministry.

          Let me be clear. There should be full documentation for band expenses. And it is within the realm of possibility that a proper forensic audit, as Appawapiskat has requested, will uncover actual evidence of financial impropriety during the tenure of Chief Spence, as the government and so many media reports allege. But it's extremely unlikely. The Harper government has spent somewhere in the range of a quarter million dollars (on third-party management, on the Deloitte audit time, travel and per diems, on legal fees for the federal court case, on wasted departmental time) to uncover wrongdoing by Chief Spence, but there is no "smoking gun."

          We should remember what a real "smoking gun" is: the mayor of Canada's largest city Toronto recently found guilty by a judge of "conflict of interest"; the mayor of the second largest city Montreal resigning last year because of his improper relationship with contractors; the RCMP confronting the mayor of London with a public cheque paying for his son's wedding reception. Those examples are real fraud. But I suspect that far more front-page ink was spent on "the public humiliation of the leader of a tiny destitute North Ontario village" than on any of these real scandals.

          Finally, it should be noted that Deloitte earns tens of millions in consulting fees annually from the Harper government. Let's listen instead to a federal judge on the specifics of Attawapiskat and the former auditor general on the challenges faced by many Canadian reserves. (Additional information here, here, here and here.)

        •  What would it look like if First Nations (0+ / 0-)

          turned the table on the Canadian federal government?

    •  I so miss Jack Layton... (5+ / 0-)

      Everyone, rich or poor, deserves a shelter for the soul. -- Sam Mockbee ~~~For handmade silver jewelry, click here.~~~

      by Lorinda Pike on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:27:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I actually wrote Ignatief a lengthy letter (7+ / 0-)

      a few years ago, when his poll standing was almost equal to Harper's. I urged him to ensure he could find common cause with the NDP asap to defeat Harper in the  House and force an election.

      My point to him was this, - you might not win, but if Harper again does not win a majority this time, his party will depose him and your will have performed a great public service in getting rid of him (while losing yourself).

       Instead Iggy waited, his poll standings retreated and H pounced on a moment when he could win a majority, and did.

      Sometimes public servants work an entire career and their field of exepertise (Plague, rescue at sea, whatever) never comes to the fore big time. A scientist may work an entire career without finding a cure to cancer, but is still a success for finding the routes that don't work. A fireman may never have to fight a real inferno. So, I told Iggy that he might never be Prime Minister, but he had a public duty to try and bring Harper down.  

      "...stories of past courage can define that ingredient..... But they cannot supply courage itself. For this each man must look into his own soul." JFK Profiles in Courage " Ontario

      by ontario on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 08:32:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  is this like in the States (0+ / 0-)

      where we had two senates (NY and WA) swing back to the Republicans b/c "Moderate Democrats" decided to caucus with Republicans instead of Democrats?

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:48:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, they were lefties who took a bribe (0+ / 0-)

        to side with the Republicans. What happened to the Patterson administration was partly deserved. They almost destroyed democracy in the State.

        I dunno what happened in Washington state though.

        •  Whatever the politicians deserved (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          the voters who chose Democratic over Republican control did not deserve to see their votes subverted by a BS tactic.

          And the way I heard it, they were not lefties. But I was just reading reported news both MSM and blogs; if you're on the ground there you probably have a lot more details.

          if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

          by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:27:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  There are some interesting comments on protests (7+ / 0-)

    and blockades by Canadians at this link:

    What do you think about today's Idle No More protests?

    Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:09:27 PM PST

  •  Just fired off a letter to the Editor of the Globe (11+ / 0-)

    and Mail, Canada's most widely read Newspaper.

    Electing people who don't believe in government to Congress, is like installing an atheist as pastor of a church. If they don't believe in the institution or its goals, they won't care if it does a good job for its members.

    by Lefty Coaster on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:18:06 PM PST

  •  For most people, this is the 21st century (23+ / 0-)

    But, the heads of US and Canadian officials seem  stuck in the 17th. It is the duty of all citizens to oppose injustices to indigenous peoples.

  •  Thank you for highlighting this (18+ / 0-)

    First Nations have environmentalists on their side as well as the thousands opposed to the draconian Harper-Tar-Sands-Government.

    Some editorials and cartoons in Canadian small towns are outright racist. Racism was always there but this demonstration is bringing it to the light.

    Native chief says he is surprised these racists know how to read and write. (including a college professor)


    The Economist weighs in
    Time we stopped meeting like this
    Why it's in the best economic interest of the Harper government to pay attention to First Nations people.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 03:37:51 PM PST

  •  This is not isolated (14+ / 0-)

    not just a Canadian problem. World wide these giant multinational resource entities force indigenous people off their land and heritage. Honoring treaties or common good of all peoples is not in their interest. why do we globally have to deal with these Visigoths over and over again. I stand in solidarity with Canada's First Nation, Idle No More. My heart goes out to them, as we are all connected to the land, the earth that sustains us, it does not belong to them. It is not here for their profits through destruction regardless of their claims.    

  •  Thanks for the diary (8+ / 0-)

    Great coverage. I've been keeping up with this more through Facebook, so I'm glad you updated us.

    This is going to be unstoppable and spread throughout the hemisphere.

    Helping a food pantry on the Cheyenne River Reservation,Okiciyap." ><"

    by betson08 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 05:35:21 PM PST

  •  They need to be careful (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flitedocnm, chimene, skwimmer

    I think the Canadian public is generally on their side, but not strongly.  Protests are fine, but if they keep shutting things down and annoying people you're going to hear more and more popular sentiment to stop them any way possible.

    Canadians know that the First Nations have it bad, but they've seen this same storyline play out so many times and every time before it has seemed like nothing is enough for them and so nothing really gets done.  Whether true or not, that seems to be the general sentiment.  At this point I don't think the Canadian public really wants justice for the First Nations.  They just want to stop hearing about this problem one way or another, and stop hearing demands for more and more land, more and more rights that no one else gets, and more and more money.

    So keep fighting the good fight, but keep in mind that their public support is probably pretty weak and fickle.

  •  with indigenous people in Peru - recent weeks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foresterbob, KenBee, chimene

    they live in harmony with nature

    amazon rain forest people live with the animals and plants - some of the richest biodiversity on the planet

    but highest water levels in history on their part of the amazon last year

    thousands of years of experience with plants and animals

    at end of trip ruins of Incas and current descendants

    terraces in stone lasted for 500 years

    can we learn from these people?

    will it take them to slow down the destruction of the planet?

    the "developed" people seem to only want more stuff

  •  Thanks for this update, (5+ / 0-)


    Your activism across a broad spectrum of issues is really appreciated by many, including me, btw.  ;)

  •  Thanks for covering this issue. (7+ / 0-)

    As a Canadian, I stand in solidarity with Idle No More. I have been shocked -- absolutely flabbergasted! -- by the outright racism and invective I've seen displayed by fellow Canadians these past few weeks on online forums and comment threads. "They just want more money." "They're corrupt." "They're lazy." "They should integrate into society like everyone else." the Idle No More movement is NOT after more money. They're trying to save our environment and our collective butts, you idiots! Sheesh!

    Some people wouldn't know heroism and awe-inspiring sacrifice if it smacked them in the face. /rolls eyes

    Climate activists unite: we need a symbol. A name. A vision. Join the discussion.

    by Eowyn9 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 06:43:51 PM PST

    •  You shouldn't have included Spence's photo (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kimba, chimene, skwimmer

      She's passing very quickly from her current status as "joke" to "utter embarrassment". Her grandstanding and utterly absurd demands aren't winning her any friends.

      •  I have to agree (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chimene, skwimmer

        I am in full support of the Idle No More movement, but have been completely turned off by Chief Spence's antics during the last couple of weeks. She is doing the movement more harm than good and should consider getting her ass back home to Attawapiskat to do her fuckin' job. There are people STILL living in squalor on the reserve, no better off than they were last winter, after the reserve received 90 million federal (taxpayer) dollars, so WTF? My advice to the leaders of the movement would be to elevate another reasonable voice to speak for the indigenous people of Canada; this woman is quickly becoming a hinderance to the attainment of fair treatment for our native people.

        "If not us, then who? If not now, then when?" Rep. John Lewis

        by Kimba on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:11:23 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  There's one thing the INM critics are right about (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          skwimmer, Lefty Coaster

          Something has to be done about fiscal accountability a many reserves, not just dumping more money at the problem.

          One of the things that doesn't get shown in the media very often is that while many people live on reserves in places that are in pretty bad shape, there's other places on those same reserves that are nowhere near as bad.

          I grew up near a reserve, and there was a standard rule of thumb that you could cynically use when driving though it: the shape a given house was in was directly proportional to how closely the occupant was related to someone on band council.

          This was probably the inevitable result because of how screwed up the system was thanks to the way the government interacted with First Nations, but whatever the cause the reality is that there were people locally who took advantage of it to do well for themselves at the expense of their neighbours. Any real long term solution has to involve changes on both sides.

          •  OK. It's not my country (0+ / 0-)

            and I don't necessarily know all the details. I also don't know you. But all I can say is, I've heard words like yours often.

            "fiscal accountability" is a buzz phrase for the conservatives down here south of the border. Talking about how "people think that X group of folks have it bad, but you'd be surprised how good some of 'em have it" is also something I've heard repeatedly from conservatives in the States since the days of Reagan's famous "welfare queen."

            Your comment also takes the focus off of what the protest is about: 1) Harper et al changing the law without consulting with First Nations as required by Canadian law, and 2)the energy companies' desire to tear apart whatever lands and laws stand between them and maximum fossil fuel exploitation. It puts the focus on how greedy and financially unaccountable First Nations leaders are.  That looks like a classic deflection to me.

            It's quite possible that there's corruption in the use and allocation of funds on tribal lands in Canada, but the rhetoric you're using causes me some serious distrust.

            Just to clear things up, how do you feel about the part of Harper's budget that affects First Nations? Do you think it was legal? And how do you feel about reducing the powers of the First Nations to restrict access to the energy companies?

            if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

            by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:38:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              SouthernLiberalinMD, meralda

              Of course it was legal. It was passed according to Parliamentary procedure. That's an entirely different question than if it were right to do it that way.

              And while yes, what I said is used by some people as a way of undermining legitimate complaints, the fact remains that it is nonetheless true and does have a bearing on what goes on.

              One of the rationales used by the government to justify some of the things which critics claim is giving away to resource companies (which is more complicated than that, but we'll leave it there) is that resource development will aid depressed communities by providing job creation and opportunities. The fiscal mismanagement, and this is on both sides, is, in many cases, one of the root causes of the issues which need to be addressed which then is used by the current government to justify their actions.

              I've seen that exact same justification used against my employers (Inuit) by federal governments--and not just Conservative ones--as an excuse why they won't do certain things. "Oh, why are you demanding X when you can't even get Y working?" On the other hand, when the local house is in order, we've been able to point out they're full of shit which helps us to get what we actually want with fewer distractions.

              •  it was legal although apparently the Canadian (0+ / 0-)

                courts said that Harper et al have to consult with the First Nations before changing laws affecting them?

                if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:29:29 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  That's a really complicated issue (3+ / 0-)

                  The courts have held that consultation is required when someone, usually a third party, want to use the land, but things before that are a lot less clear.

                  Hmm, what I mean. Okay, if someone wants to do something on  the territory of a First Nation that doesn't have a modern land claim, there is no question whatsoever that meaningful consultation with that First Nation (and other affected communities) is absolutely required before it can proceed. The courts up to the Supreme have ruled on this, and it's been built into newer laws and regulations. However, there isn't a lot of case law concerning what happens before that. If the government changes their internal application, assessment, or administrative processes to make it easier (or harder) to do that something, is there a need to consult? Maybe, maybe not.

                  So, for instance, if someone wants to build a pipeline through traditional territory, they absolutely have to consult before starting work. Does the government have to consult if they change their procedures as to what has to be done to get the required governmental permissions (say the amount of time between an application and when a decision has to be made)? That's not nearly as clear and also vastly more complicated. If consultation is required, is it for absolutely everything ("We want to change the layout of the application form, we need to consult with you on that"), or is it only for the "significant" changes, and what  counts as significant?

                  •  thanks for info (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Lefty Coaster

                    I should digest this before further commenting on your country :-)

                    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:06:19 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It gets even more complicated (0+ / 0-)

                      There are two types of land claims in Canada: the older treaties (which are very much a product of the 19th century), and the modern comprehensive land claims (dating from the late 1970s on).

                      The modern claims deal with many, if not most, of the issues that are currently before the courts in other areas. Who has control over what land, and what that control is, and the process for allowing people to use it. Environmental assessment. Resource revenue sharing, and outright ownership of natural resources. Consultation, who has to be consulted and what about. Changes in laws which would require the permission of the claim group versus where they have to be consulted versus where they must simply be kept informed. Land use planning, compensation, and so on and so forth.

                      To use the example with which I'm most familiar, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. Many of the issues being raised about the government's actions are of simply no relevance to Inuit beneficiaries of the land claim (or residents of Nunavut in general). Inuit do not fall under the Indian Act concerning bands and treaty lands and status and whatnot, so the proposed changes there are irrelevant.  The environmental assessment process is stricter than the federal process and, most importantly, is driven and controlled by the people of Nunavut, especially Inuit. There's explicit requirement for doing benefits agreement for projects of a sufficient size, the Inuit own 20% of the land (and thus control access under their terms and conditions, subject to an appeal process to a surface rights tribunal which hasn't had to be used in the 20 years the claim has been in existence), and the richest (in terms of mineral potential) mineral ground in the territory, so all royalties from any mines there go to them, as well as a cut of all royalties from any project in the territory. And so on and so forth.

                      To put it bluntly, pretty much anything of any size which is proposed to happen in the territory has Inuit input, if not direct decision making, involved before it can take place.

                      As one of my bosses was fond of saying, if you don't have a modern claim you have no interest in allowing anything to happen in your area because you really don't have a say over it. Once you have a modern claim, the attitude changes from "No! We don't want anything to happen!" to "Let's make a deal, with these conditions."

                      •  Richard Harrington (0+ / 0-)

                        Are you familiar with the Toronto Star photographs by Richard Harrington of the starvation and death that took place on the shores of Hudson's Bay in the 1950s? While Canada was relocating Inuit next to Greenland to press its sovereignty issues in midst of the Cold War. How much has changed in 60 years?

                        Approximately 70% of the people in Nunavut still have food security issues, and I assume i don't need to provide you with statistics on the suicide epidemic in northern Canada. Nor should I need to mention the impact of residential schools, the TB epidemic that forced the hunters off their lands and into institutions throughout Canada.

                        But let us speak of your comment: "As one of my bosses was fond of saying, if you don't have a modern claim you have no interest in allowing anything to happen in your area because you really don't have a say over it. Once you have a modern claim, the attitude changes from "No! We don't want anything to happen!" to "Let's make a deal, with these conditions."

                        Not everything is about resource claims, modern or treaty, but sometimes about life and staying alive, and preserving a way of life that survived millennia. You appear to have had the privilege of living among the Inuit, but it appears from your comments you are most concerned about developing the resources in Northern Canada.

                        •  Yeah, okay, a few things (0+ / 0-)

                          Number one, that "way of life that has survived thousands of years"? You might want to inquire as to how people actually live up here as opposed to some romantic version of Nanook of the North.

                          Walk into any community in the territory and you'll see going to work like anyone anywhere else in Canada, living in houses like anywhere else in Canada, watching hockey and movies, playing video games, using the internet. In the entire territory the number of people living the way people have "done for millennia" (by which I assume you mean "living a lot like someone did a century ago") can be on one hand. By someone who has lost all their fingers. Hunting and going on the land is something you do on the weekend, or on vacation, because you can't afford the snowmobile and the sled with the plastic or metal runners, or the ATV for the summer, or the rifle and ammunition, or the stove and its fuel, or the tent, without having some form of income.

                          Anyone who hunts the 'traditional' way, such as one of my co-workers who hunts seal by standing over a seal hole with a harpoon only hunts that way because they don't have to. It's a hobby. Anyone who needs to hunt does so with a firearm, and there's actually very few of them. There used to be more people who could live of hunting, but someone, no doubt well-meaning people, destroyed that way of life when they sought the banning of seal skin, and cutting down on furs, and protest people making a living guiding hunters. And since people up here don't live on reservations, and aren't covered by the Indian Act, they pay the same taxes other Canadians do, which means they need to work, which given the reality of the territory gives very few options.

                          Second, the very idea of "preserving a way of life of life that has survived millennia"? No. Modern Canadian Inuit are descendants of the Thule People, who started spreading out from Alaska around the year 1000 and replaced (quite likely violently) the Dorset, the last tiny remnant group (the Sadlermiut) dying out in 1902-03.

                          (Yes, this means that the Norse were actually in Greenland before Inuit).

                          The Thule coming east were primarily whale hunters, and adopted seal hunting techniques from the Dorset, just like they adopted firearms as soon as they became available, and snowmobiles as soon as they became available, and radio as soon as it became available...

                          (There's one traditional Inuit drum dance called "Muzzle Loader" and the dance imitates the motions of loading and firing a black-powder musket.)

                          The traditional Inuit way of life can be summed up with three words: "Adaptation and Change". And that means you don't "preserve" a way of life just because it's traditional, you preserve it because it works, and if it doesn't work any more you develop something that does.

                          •  Some links to help you understand the timelines (0+ / 0-)

                            You might want to inquire about why Inuit life was changed so dramatically in two generations. You mentioned Nanook of the North, and your view that my opinion of the Inuit is some sort of romantic version of that 1922 film made by Robert Flaherty. So a few points about Flaherty and his family.

                            As I wrote in my original answer to you, in the 1950s Canada was forcibly relocating Inuit from northern Quebec, where Flaherty filmed Nanook, 2000 km north into a vastly different ecosystem to demonstrate in the midst of the Cold War that Canadians were already living in disputed territories, particularly to Grise Fiord on the southern tip of Ellesmere Island and to Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island, both near  Greenland.

                            The relocatees included Inuit who had been involved in the filming of Nanook. Two of the Inuit thus deported were Flaherty's son Josephie (his mother was the female star of the globally acclaimed film) and his 5-year-old granddaughter Martha Flaherty who I believe is still alive. This point to rebut your timeline comment that all this destruction of traditional skills and knowledge happened well over a century ago.

                            Their relocated life was not some romantic version of Nanook, but the brilliance of that traditional culture you seem to disparage is demonstrated by the fact that in their high Arctic conditions the Inuit observed the local beluga whale migration routes and were able to survive in this entirely new area, hunting over a range of 18,000 km2 each year. This was less than 60 years ago. Since you brought Flaherty into the discussion, I suggest you read The Long Exile: A Tale of Inuit Betrayal and Survival in the High Arctic.

                            Yes, you are correct the Thule displaced the Dorset - from whom they also learnt more localized hunting techniques as you mention. Both Thule and Dorset do represent cultures with millennia of tradition. You are also quite correct the Thule did not arrive in Greenland until after the Norse, although the Dorset were quite active there in the centuries prior so you seem to suggest that since it wasn't the Thule the reality that Greenland already had non-European residents is not relevant.

                            In fact, after the Mongolian invasion of China, Thule sources of iron in Asia dried up and they rapidly moved east towards the Norse sources of iron, including to Greenland. You can learn more at this excellent documentary from the Nature of Things. For millennia, there was a vast trading network around the Arctic, including the walrus tusks providing the ivory for the carvings in mediaeval churches.

                            You did not address my issues of 50-70% food insecurity among the Inuit, nor the suicide rate among Inuit youth last decade that was 30% higher than for other Canadians in the same age group. What did you write:

                            The traditional Inuit way of life can be summed up with three words: "Adaptation and Change". And that means you don't "preserve" a way of life just because it's traditional, you preserve it because it works, and if it doesn't work any more you develop something that does.
                            Your "adaptation and change" route sure "works" for Inuit youth with their suicide rate, doesn't it. Contrary to your strange timelines, they still have grandparents - living or dead - who were relocated, or shipped to TB institutions or residential schools in living memory. And they also have grandparents who took joy in their traditional life guided by millennia of successful adaption to that environment only two generations ago.

                            The fur trade - a bit like the tulip market, the DEW line, the resources companies had a hell of a lot more to do with the destruction of Inuit survival than your repeated blaming of environmental groups.

                            On a final note and further reading recommendation, you need to educate yourself on the culture among which you live, and the story of Sedna.

                            In the entire territory the number of people living the way people have "done for millennia" (by which I assume you mean "living a lot like someone did a century ago") can be on one hand. By someone who has lost all their fingers.
                            I assume you are entirely unaware of the most prevalent story among the Inuit and many other Arctic peoples on the source of their food from the sea, or you would never have made such an insulting comment. It relates to losing all fingers.

                            There are various versions of the Sedna myth that you can find online. But all relate to Sedna who was thrown out of a boat after her father rescued her from her deceitful husband. Her husband set out to overturn the boat, and her father was forced to cut off all her fingers as she clung to the vessel. One by one they dropped and became the fish, seals, walruses, and whale that nourish the Inuit.

                            Killing off an entire culture, and then using that culture's most prevalent and enduring story of survival and hope to mock its death, with your ill-fated reference to losing all fingers, finally leaves me at a loss for words.  

              •  OK, I see your point of view (0+ / 0-)

                on local "housekeeping."  And thank you for answering me instead of flying off the handle.

                The rationale about fossil fuel exploitation producing jobs is the oldest piece of energy company propaganda in the book. The truth of course is that it will create some jobs, just like any business venture.  At what cost is a good question. Another question is how many of those jobs are permanent and how many at a living wage, much less a decent wage.

                We didn't used to approve any and all business ventures simply because they were business ventures, which, of necessity, utilize some labor force and pay them something.

                The Keystone XL pipeline has union supporters down here because it's going to create some jobs. Even though everybody knows that the job creation claims are inflated, and even though a large percentage of the jobs are temporary construction jobs which will evaporate once the pipeline's built. It doesn't matter what the project does to people, to landowners, or what the bad results are.  It doesn't even matter if the jobs are going to last or how much they pay as long as some jobs are created sometime. That's how desperate people are.  But that desperation puts an unbalanced amount of power in the hands of industry. That's what government is supposed to be for, to think through the costs and benefits rather than grabbing desperately at crumbs.  But that kind of real balanced approach is not possible in a climate in which industry is allowed to run roughshod over all other interests, and particularly not when government is complicit in enabling them to do so.

                if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

                by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:39:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  anybody who puts their life on the line (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eowyn9, Lefty Coaster

        with a hunger strike gets a serious rating from me.  It's more than I've ever done.

        if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

        by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:17:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Do not underestimate the power of the shill (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Reepicheep, Eowyn9

      and the sockpuppet. We all know that industry and lobbying groups hire people to troll comments on newspaper sites and other online forums.

      In other words, it's possible your fellow Canadians are not as racist as it seems.

      if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:15:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is a good point - thanks, (0+ / 0-)

        and among my own social circle I know only one person who was racist, several years ago at least (don't know if she still holds these views; we haven't discussed it in a while).

        She told me that things would be easier/better in Canada today if the European settlers had completely removed? (assimilated? eliminated? I can't remember what euphemism she used but whatever it was, it struck me as atrocious) the First Nations people.

        I tried to explain to her as politely and calmly as possible, that by saying this she was advocating genocide. Didn't seem to convince her, though, that this sort of viewpoint was morally abhorrent. Sigh.

        "We are stardust, we are golden, and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden." (Joni Mitchell) Join the Forward on Climate Rally on February 17!

        by Eowyn9 on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 11:28:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  There was a public meeting in (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimene, Lefty Coaster

    BC, but the govt wouldn't let the public in; too disruptive.  So one of the witnesses held the door open, or something, and folks rushed in, objected loudly, and got busted.

    Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

    by 6412093 on Thu Jan 17, 2013 at 11:22:26 PM PST

  •  "largest circle dance ever" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    That must have been something to be and see!

    Call exploitation and debt slavery whatever you want.

    by jcrit on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 04:10:02 AM PST

  •  I had no idea that they stripped (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Reepicheep, Lefty Coaster

    First Nations of those rights. That is very bad news indeed. I guess not unexpected, but--did they just slide it under the radar by putting it into a large budget bill?

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 05:43:22 AM PST

  •  Stand up, yell, scream! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lefty Coaster

    Then do it some more.  Don't let those bastards win this.

    "YOPP!" --Horton Hears a Who

    by Reepicheep on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 06:39:32 AM PST

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