Simone de Beauvoir Institute

Statement of Feminist Solidarity with the IDLE NO MORE Movement

On this day of global action, we, the representatives of students, faculty, staff, Fellows, and Research Associates of the Simone de Beauvoir Institute pledge our full support for the IDLE NO MORE movement.

We stand in respectful solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence and with Quebec’s Michèle Audette, the current President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, as well as with the similarly inspiring women who launched the movement, Sheela McLean, Sylvia McAdams, Nina Wilson, and Jessica Gordon. We recognize this movement as an extension of a long history of inspiring women who have been on the frontlines of First Nations and Indigenous movements in Canada, including Ellen Gabriel, the late Patricia Monture-Angus, and so many others. We understand that in addition to challenging the Canadian Government, women leading the IDLE NO MORE movement are also seeking changes within First Nations/Indigenous organizations to implement decision-making practices that better respond to the demands of women, youth, and those working at the grassroots level in their communities.

We strongly oppose the legislation proposed and passed by the Canadian Government, including Bill C-45, which provides administrative procedures that are undemocratic, such as the Aboriginal Affairs Minister being able to ignore a Band Council resolution against designating reserve lands for unsustainable resource extraction. Such procedures allow for the redefinition of Indigenous land and, as such, raise critical questions of whether the Crown is respecting the spirit and intent of treaty rights. We are dismayed about this government’s disregard for environmental protection laws and by its repeated failure to deliver on commitments made under the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the 2012 Crown-First

Nations Gathering. We are particularly concerned at the inaction or negligence in providing immediate and effective measures that ensure the safety of Indigenous women, particularly given that hundreds of Indigenous women have gone missing or have been murdered in recent years.

As members of a Canadian University built on Mohawk territory, we recognize the reprehensible ways in which educational institutions were systematically used to destroy Indigenous communities as well as the existence of systemic and persisting barriers to postsecondary education. We hereby pledge our commitment to educating ourselves and others on the ongoing colonization of Indigenous lands within the borders of Canada and the treatment of Indigenous peoples on colonized lands everywhere. To this end, we commit to continuing and enhancing our programs in the following ways:

  • Give students opportunities to learn about anti-colonial movements and Indigenous activist strategies locally and globally, including the IDLE NO MORE movement.
  • Assist our students in developing an understanding of the gendered dimensions of colonial relations of power and resistance both in historical and contemporary contexts.
  • Assign and use materials, methodologies, and writings by Indigenous women in our teaching.
  • Actively support the struggle for Indigenous sovereignty by taking part in teach-ins, protests and demonstrations, and community events.
  • Demand an end to violence against all women, in all its forms.
  • Recognize the IDLE NO MORE movement as integrally connected to efforts to end occupations, economic exploitation, environmental degradation, and militarism, and to seek justice worldwide.

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