By Natalie Stechyson, Postmedia News January 27, 201
OTTAWA — Idle No More protesters are set to gather in at least 30 Canadian cities and will be joined by solidarity protests around the world as the indigenous grassroots movement marks a global day of action on Monday.
The day of action, which comes as Canada’s MPs return to the House of Commons, is to include everything from a rally in Vancouver and a peace march in Calgary, to a gathering of jingle dancers on Ottawa’s Parliament Hill and a sunrise ceremony in Montreal, according to regional Idle No More Facebook pages.
And internationally, protesters are set to gather for events everywhere from Australia to Sweden and across the United States.
“This day of action will peacefully protest attacks on Democracy, Indigenous Sovereignty, Human Rights and Environmental Protections when Canadian MPs return to the House of Commons on January 28th,” organizers said in a statement on the Idle No More website. “As a grassroots movement, clearly no political organization speaks for Idle No More. This movement is of the people… For The People!”
The aboriginal-rights movement seeks a more equitable relationship between the federal government and Canada’s indigenous people. The movement urges the government of Canada to “repeal all legislation; which violates Treaties, Indigenous Sovereignty and subsequently Environmental Protections of land and water,” according to the Idle No More website.
Although Attawapiskat Chief Theresa’s Spence former hunger protest had become inextricably linked to the movement, she began refusing solid food after the movement’s original rallies, teach-ins and first national day of action organized on Dec. 10.
Last week a new assembly of social movements called Common Causes – associated with the Council of Canadians – announced its support for Idle No More to mark the global day of action. Common Causes has also announced Monday rallies and marches in cities across the country, most of them in coordination with Idle No More events.
The largest Idle No More turnout is expected in Ottawa, where jingle dancers across the country have been invited by organizers to dance on Parliament Hill following a rally on Victoria Island. Maude Barlow – the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians – is scheduled to give a speech on behalf of Common Causes on Parliament Hill Monday afternoon.
In Vancouver, hundreds of protesters plan to march to the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Building, according to the event’s Facebook page. In Calgary, more than 300 people have RSVP’d for a peace march that will converge in “the biggest Round Dance the downtown core has ever seen!”
In Regina, Sask., 287 people had registered on Facebook to attend an evening of music and speeches. And in Winnipeg, more than 2,000 had registered to take place in a flash mob round dance.
Dozens of rallies are planned for cities across Ontario – including nearly 400 people expected to gather in downtown Toronto – and the Maritimes, according to Facebook.
Just over 250 people had RSVP’d for an Idle No More rally in Montreal, and another hundred people RSVP’d for a sunrise ceremony that then plans to organize transportation to the rally in Ottawa.
In Melbourne, Australia, 61 people were registered for a Haka flash mob in support of Idle No More. In Malmo, Sweden, 115 people said they were attending a rally in support of Idle No More. That rally was set to include dancing and drumming, according to the group’s Facebook page.
And events have been planned in a number of cities across the United States, including New York City, Washington and Las Vegas.
Spinning off the recent First Nations protests and meetings, NDP MP Romeo Saganash will introduce a private member’s bill Monday asking the government to ensure the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.