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.