Officially launched on June 21 by Idle No More and Defenders of the Land, a network of Indigenous communities in land struggle, Sovereignty Summer is a campaign of coordinated non-violent direct actions to promote Indigenous rights and environmental protection in alliance with non-Indigenous supporters.
Sovereignty Summer actions aim to bring attention to the Harper government agenda, which undermines the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Canadian citizens, and the ongoing policies disrupting Indigenous peoples’ lives – such as land claims, third party management, and no free and prior consent to development on Indigenous lands. We are in a critical time where lives, lands, waters and Creation are at-risk and they must be protected.
The Harper government is moving quickly to pass the suite of legislation (C-45, C-428, S-2, S-6, S-8, S-212, C-27, and the First Nation Education Act) that undermines the treaties, our nation-to-nation relationship and Indigenous sovereignty, which is the last stand to protect our lands. Idle No More calls 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.
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.
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.
The March 18 Press Release is available at:www.defendersoftheland.org/sites/www.defendersoftheland.org/files/INM-Defenders Final.pdf