Idle No More calls for day of action
Oct 7, 2013 / 7:27 am
Organizers of the Idle No More movement are calling for a global day of action today, with dozens of demonstrations planned across Canada.
The events will coincide with the 250th anniversary of the British Royal Proclamation of 1763, Canada’s founding document which said that indigenous land rights must be recognized.
The Idle No More movement began as a Twitter hashtag and spread to communities across Canada last winter, as aboriginal groups protested the federal government’s omnibus Bill C-45.
First Nations groups said the bill threatened their treaty rights and demanded that the Conservative government directly address the issue, as well as poor living conditions in many of their communities.
The chief of Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario, Theresa Spence, became the face of Idle No More when she embarked on a six-week hunger protest in early December, subsisting on fish broth and tea.
Spence’s protest and ongoing demonstrations from coast to coast led to a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Assembly of First Nations chiefs, but critics say that nothing has changed since.
Idle No More events are being planned Monday in Victoria, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto and other Canadian cities.
In a video posted on Idle No More’s website, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo says: “This is a moment to hold a mirror up to reflect on the deepest, darkest corners of Canada’s history, reaching out to Canadians saying: ‘This is your moment, too.’”
A number of communities in other countries, including the United States and Britain, are planning solidarity events.
In addition to the British Royal Proclamation, Monday’s events will also recognize the arrival of a United Nations fact-finder who has been tasked with reviewing the rights of Canada’s indigenous people and the issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women.
Law professor James Anaya, the UN’s special rapporteur on indigenous rights, will be in the country for nine days to work on his report to the UN Human Rights council. He is scheduled to meet with representatives of First Nations and the federal government.
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