A Call to Action from Idle No More & Defenders of the Land
Idle No More has sparked an awakening of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples internationally in support for democracy, human rights and environmental protections. In three short months, the movement has succeeded in raising global consciousness through education, cultural resurgence, and democratic political activism. We have shaken the foundations of inequality in Canada, and invited communities to join in a movement for social and environmental justice. We now need many more people to stand with us.
The Harper government’s agenda is clear: to weaken all collective rights and environmental protections, in order to turn Canada into an extraction state that gives corporations unchecked power to destroy our communities and environment for profit. Harper is trying to extinguish Indigenous Peoples’ Inherent,
Aboriginal and Treaty rights to their territories, because these rights are the best and last protection for all Canadians.
Idle No More has confronted these policies, and Harper supporters such as ex-Minister of Aboriginal Affairs John Duncan, suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau, resigned minister Peter Penashue, and Tom Flanagan have been called into question by grassroots people.
Idle No More will help rebuild the nation-to-nation relationship that is the foundation of this country. This means deepening democracy, respecting Indigenous sovereignty and protecting the land and waters from further resource extraction without the affected Indigenous Peoples’ free, prior, and informed consent.
We know it will take a lot more to defeat Harper and the corporate agenda. But against the power of their money and weapons, we have the power of our bodies and spirits. There is nothing that can match the power of peaceful, collective action in the defense of people and Mother Earth.
Idle No More and Defenders of the Land, a network of Indigenous communities in land struggle, have joined together to issue this common call for escalating action. Our demands are clear and in accordance with the principles of coexistence and mutual respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples. We demand that Canada, the provinces and the territories:
- Repeal provisions of Bill C-45 (including changes to the Indian Act and Navigable Waters Act, which infringe on environmental protections, Aboriginal and Treaty rights) and abandon all pending legislation which does the same.
- Deepen democracy in Canada through practices such as proportional representation and consultation on all legislation concerning collective rights and environmental protections,and include legislation which restricts corporate interests.
- In accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ principle of free, prior, and informed consent, respect the right of Indigenous peoples to say no to development on their territory.
- Cease its policy of extinguishment of Aboriginal Title and recognize and affirm Aboriginal Title and Rights, as set out in section 35 of Canada’s constitution, and recommended by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
- Honour the spirit and intent of the historic Treaties. Officially repudiate the racist Doctrine of Discovery and the Doctrine of Terra Nullius, and abandon their use to justify the seizure of Indigenous Nations lands and wealth.
- Actively resist violence against women and hold a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and involve Indigenous women in the design, decision-making, process and implementation of this inquiry, as a step toward initiating a comprehensive and coordinated national action plan.
CALLS TO ACTION:
- March 21st International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- We are calling for decentralized actions across the country.
- April 22 Earth Day
- Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous rights are in many cases the best defence against environmental destruction by unchecked greed and industrial development. This Earth Day we are calling for nationwide autonomous local protests — and a mass non-violent direct action in Ottawa to be announced soon -highlighting the importance of Indigenous rights in combating the Harper and corporate agenda. We are asking people to prominently include messaging on Indigenous and Treaty rights in their actions.
- Sovereignty Summer
- Indigenous communities have the right to determine the development on their traditional and treaty territories. In defending their right to say “No” to unwanted development, First Nations like Barriere Lake, KI, Grassy Narrows and many others are advancing alternatives that help us re-imagine our relationship to the environment. Across the country, people are increasingly supporting First Nations who are trying to protect lands, waters and air for everyone, and to win recognition of marine protections, of sustainable forestry, of local, just economies, and of the principle that we must respect the environment that we are a part of.
We are calling on non-Indigenous people to join Indigenous communities in coordinated non-violent direct actions in the summer. Alternatives will only come to life if we escalate our actions, taking bold non-violent direct action that challenges the illegitimate power of corporations who dictate government policy.
IDLE NO MORE FOUNDERS, LEAD ORGANIZERS, PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL CHAPTERS, AND WORKING GROUPS
DEFENDERS OF THE LAND
KITCHENUHMAYKOOSIB INNINUWUG FIRST NATION
ALGONQUINS OF BARRIERE LAKE
ARDOCH ALGONQUIN FIRST NATION
JUDY DA SILVA – GRASSY NARROWS WOMEN’S DRUM
CHIEF CANDICE PAUL – ST MARY’S FIRST NATION*
DINI ZE TOGHESTIY – HEREDITARY CHIEF, LIKHTS’AMISYU CLAN, WET’SUWET’EN
MEL BAZIL – LHE LIN LIYIN CO-FOUNDER, GRASSROOTS WET’SUWET’EN
REBEKA TABOBONDUNG, PUBLISHER – MUSKRAT MAGAZINE
AUDREY HUNTLEY – NO MORE SILENCE
MELINA LABOUCAN-MASSIMO – LUBICON CREE FIRST NATION*
CAROL MARTIN – DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE WOMEN’S CENTRE*
RUSSELL DIABO – MOHAWK NATION (KAHNAWAKE)*
ARTHUR MANUEL – SECWEPEMC NATION, INDIGENOUS NETWORK ON ECONOMIES AND TRADE
CLAYTON THOMAS-MUELLER – PUKATAWAGAN CREE NATION*, INDIGENOUS TAR SANDS CAMPAIGN