Idle No More

On January 11, 2013, in Uncategorized, by Patricia


This whole week I’ve been in OCD loops, checking social media and working unproductively and brooding away, watching the unfolding of events in Ottawa with the First Nations, who are finally standing up to Canada. It’s momentous, and riveting for those who understand what’s going on psychologically for them, as opposed to many Canadians who can only assess the whole thing in terms of political posturing and corruption.

Lots of folks don’t get it. This is not about ‘our’ way of wheeling and dealing, finessing talking points and strategizing about how to win points, how to manipulate deals. Quite the contrary. This is the upwelling of an identity movement, an assertion of cultural nationhood, a quest to reclaim a lost yet deeply cherished soul.

“What do you think the chiefs hope to gain from this meeting with the prime minister,” I keep hearing journalists ask experts. The very question is wrong.

The mere standing up and standing together is, for First Nations people, a gain. The mere act of having a collective banner that is being waved from San Diego to Australia – Idle No More – is what they are seeking to gain.

What did Rosa Parks “seek to gain” when she sat elsewhere on the bus? She was simply saying, “no more.”

Why should they meet where the Prime Minister deems them to meet? Why should they participate in a ridiculous ceremony of High Tea with the lapdog Governor General? Bullshit. No more.

I read the comments beneath news articles with a fascinated sense of horror, at how disconnected peoples’ understanding is from what the First Nations feel. On the one hand, you get so-and-so, posting underneath a CBC article about “natives facing up to their accountability to tax payers once and for all.” As if they’d somehow been parachuted into our country as fully-formed welfare bums, rather than negotiating treaties that allowed us to become one of the richest countries on the planet, in exchange for adequate education and healthcare, which we’ve invariably failed to provide to the point where First Nations children are literally sitting in classrooms filled with toxic mould.

Hunger strikes are deflections from poor audits. Lazy natives blaming their sloth on past grievances – ‘cause really, no one is throwing spoons at their heads in border cities to Indian country, like Thunder Bay. No one is raping and murdering their daughters without much police interest on the highway of tears in B.C. Really, all Canadians have been paying alert attention to the official, national Truth and Reconciliation Commission crossing the country for the last couple of years to heal the barbaric wounds inflicted by the Residential Schools. Right?

And then you follow a Facebook post from a First Nation friend at the teepee on Victoria Island in Ottawa, rhapsodizing about the shift in spiritual consciousness she’s witnessing in everyone who is coming there – the Elders, the young people, the Chiefs. There’s a never-turn-back feeling on their part. Elation. Relief. They’re done with being taunted and humiliated. The very act of telling Stephen Harper that they want to meet at their place, not his, is what they are gaining.

The truth is, this is Canada’s civil rights movement getting underway, and it’s totally historic and compelling, but the majority of the country doesn’t see it happening yet.


1 Response » to “Idle No More”

  1. Mister Jones says:

    It’s been 14 months since this post. Has anything changed? Has the so-called civil rights movement for this group intensified, or gone the way of the dodo? Nice thoughts (this blog, and Idle No More). Some action is always key to make thought into something. The rest is all just coffee house talking bullshit.

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