Braving the frigid cold the orators engaged some hundreds of people gathered for Friday’s Idle No More demonstration, which began with a ceremonial smudge and prayer. The demonstrators spoke of our responsibility to the land we live on and the animals who live here as well, saying the land is ours to share, and calling on governments to respect their treaty agreements and to include Aboriginal Peoples in every discussion involving developmental projects on Aboriginal Territory. This would entail a more direct democracy than the current model used in Canada. “We are all treaty people” has become a slogan for the moment, reminding us of our written and unwritten social contracts between citizens. According to those demonstrating on Friday and across the nation, in certain cases the Canadian government is failing to reciprocate these contracts.
Julia Sinclair of the Brandon University Aboriginal Student Council, when asked about the event, had this to say: “January 11th, 2013 is the global day of action for Idle No More. People from all across Canada, from all over the world are stepping up today, making sure their voices are heard. We put this together because we care about Mother Earth. We care about what will happen to the water, the land, the environment. One thing we want to make sure everyone knows is that this isn’t only about us, this involves everyone. Everyone lives off of this earth. We also want to make it clear that this isn’t only about the Idle No More movement. This is about bringing Aboriginal People together and bringing our community together so we can unite and become one powerful voice. During this protest we hope to make relationships, build connections that will become the stepping stone toward working together and making change. After this round dance we are going to start having information sessions. On January 21st we will be meeting with the Aboriginal Peoples Council of Brandon and, on the 24th, with the city council to start working together and hopefully make some positive changes locally.”
Republished from The Quill print edition, Volume 103, Issue 17, January 15, 2013.