After years of attempting to fight for their rights through the Canadian legal system, First Nations across Canada led by the women-led mass movement Idle No More are launching a Summer of Sovereignty, a campaign designed to educate and inspire action on behalf of indigenous rights and environmental protection.
Begun by Nina Wilson, Sheelah Mclean, Sylvia McAdam and Jessica Gordon, Idle No More has been called "one of the most exciting new political movements on Earth." It's certainly the largest mass movement of indigenous people north of the US border. The group came together last fall to protest Canadian bill C-45, a large omnibus bill, which would have implemented numerous measures, many of which activists claim weaken environmental protection laws. Of particular concern to Idle No More are laws that overturn protections on the country’s navigable waterways (which is to say the ecosystem of Native lands), and open tribal lands up to "development" which could be construed to mean exploitation by oil and gas drilling companies associated with the Keystone Pipeline.
Having fought for a over a century in the courts, in the Parliament and at the international level, it's time now for people to act at the grassroots level, say the women of Idle No More. Joining Laura in the studio to talk more about it were Sylvia McAdam, one of the Original Founders of Idle No More and Kerry Coast, author of the new book "The Colonial Present."
Among other actions planned for this summer, on June 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Idle No More will be be in Vancouver to support Hupacasath First Nation (FN) activists challenging the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion & Protection Agreement (FIPPA) that, in their words "Assumes an authority that could devalue our rights, our lives, our culture and our sovereignty."
They promise "a flotilla of canoes, fishing boats and pleasure boats travels from Vancouver Island to the City of Vancouver" as well as action inside the federal courthouse for the group's court case against FIPPA and the federal government of Canada.
Say Idle No More: "We need your support. We need to STAND TOGETHER. It is our legal and moral responsibility to protect Canada's vast land, energy and mineral resources including the tar sands, the world’s second largest pool of carbon. "