Social Movement Watch: Indigenous Women Lead in #IdleNoMore

Hello world!

Averie from the Boler Research Team 2012-13 here, with an update on a fascinating social movement taking Canada by storm today. This is especially relevant given our current research into the role of women and feminist organizing in the Occupy movement.

The Globe and Mail has just reported that more than 1,000 protesters marched through the streets of Ottawa today in support of Chief Teresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation, and the Idle No More movement.

**It’s important to note that many feel the media has been slow to catch up on this movement, as it really began taking place with First Nations protests over the last few months, or even the last year.**

From what I can glean from Twitter and other news sources, protests also took place today in:

Vancouver, Victoria, Toronto, Edmonton, Prince Albert, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, the Yukon, and the NorthWest Territories.

There was also a flash mob in Sault Ste Marie, and solidarity action taking place in the US and the UK.

The movement: 

Idle No More is a fairly recent, primarily Canadian movement, which snowballed from the activism of one group of First Nations women in Saskatchewan earlier this month.

According to the idlenomore.com:

“The focus is on grassroots voices, treaty and sovereignty, it began in the early part of October when discussing Bill C 45.  All 4 women knew that this was a time to act, as this bill and other proposed legislation would affect not only Indigenous people but also the lands, water and the rest of Canada.
With the focus on the most urgent bill knowing it would initiate attention to all other legislation, the 4 ladies held rallies and teach-ins to generate discussion and provide information.”

According to the Globe and Mail today (Friday):

“Highways have been closed, Christmas music has been drowned out by native drummers at shopping malls, and the hunger strikes by an Ontario chief and others who support her have become a rallying cry for native people from one coast to the other.”

Chief Teresa Spence is now in the 12th day of a hunger strike she started to force Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet with her. Though Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan has offered to meet with Spence, she is holding out for a meeting with Canada’s leader.

Women in the Idle No More movement: 

While the movement is still taking shape, the buzz around Idle No More has included a lot of feminist messages. Below is a curation of some such content I’ve found while trolling the net this afternoon.

The galvanizing poster from idlenomore.com, featuring women:

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 These pictures of “women warriors” protesting went viral on Twitter this afternoon the second is from Ottawa, not sure where the first is from:

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 This video compiling First Nations leaders speaking to #IdleNoMore crowds features a few women with strong messages about respect for Indigenous women and grandmothers. Listen near the middle for the quote

“It takes warrior women with strong minds and strong hards to bring our people together”

The Globe & Mail quoted National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Shawn Atleo saying that a crucial part of this movement was demanding action around the cases of “hundreds or potentially thousands” of missing and murdered First Nations girls and women in Canada.

Here were some women-centred tweets circulating on Twitter about the protests today:

http://storify.com/averiemac/women-and-idlenomore

[<a href=”//storify.com/averiemac/women-and-idlenomore” target=”_blank”>View the story “#Women and #IdleNoMore” on Storify</a>]