Idle No More: Are we ready for Canada’s civil rights movement?

We all like a good flash mob. My Facebook and Twitter were a flutter with posts when Idle No More flash mobs began sweeping the nation in December.  For the first time a significant number of my ‘white’ friends seemed to be paying attention to First Nation concerns beyond the occasional somber nod to the tragedy of third world conditions on some Reserves.  For the first time there seemed to be a sense of kinship to the frustrations First Nation people are having with the Harper government.

And then the sensation of the flash mobs dissipated… And Harper’s spin doctors went into overdrive promoting the amount of money his government gave Reserves… And we were gently reminded that the problems facing First Nation communities are overwhelming and money sucking and really, let’s face it, they’re their own worst enemies…  And now we’ve gone back to somberly nodding – some asking: What exactly do they want anyway?

Fair enough. Given the complexity of issues at play, the frustrated protesters don’t have a simple sound bite to encapsulate their ire.  Simple sound bites are a lot easier when your goal is to discredit or distract.  They’re near impossible when you genuinely want to solve difficult problems.  So what really is going on?  And why should we care?

I think we should start by considering the idea that Theresa Spence is Canada’s Rosa Parks.  She’s probably not the woman with all the answers but she is the woman who just couldn’t take it anymore, sat down and said: Enough is enough. Continue reading

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Filed under Canadian Civil Rights, Canadian Politics, Environment, First Nations