One Heartbeat: Idle No More Prepares To Drum Across North America

By Arturo R. García

At noon Central Standard Time today, the Idle No More campaign is calling for members of all indigenous nations to drum together in the highest point of a campaign, originated in Canada, that has gained traction since Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat in Northern Ontario began a hunger strike on Dec. 10.

As âpihtawikosisân explains:

Contrary to what some media outlets are reporting, she is not doing this only to protest Bill C-45 or even the deplorable treatment her community has received since declaring an emergency last year. She has vowed to continue her hunger strike until the prime minister, the Queen or a representative, agrees to sit down in good faith with First Nations leaders to rebuild what has become a fractured and abusive relationship. She is staying in a tipi on Victoria Island, which sits below Parliament and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Many native people across the country have been fasting to show their solidarity with Chief Spence, including Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus. Just search the twitter hashtag #TheresaSpence to get a sense of how much support this woman has from our peoples.

According to the Idle No More campaign blog, Bill C-45 both undermines existing laws regarding nature conservation and gets rid of the Hazardous Materials Information Review Commission, an independent group overseeing workplace standards regarding hazardous materials.

“Bill C-45 further demonstrates a pattern of recklessness by the federal government that puts the long-term safety and health of Canadians in jeopardy,” Idle No More says in the statement. “These are major changes that, if not stopped now, will ripple out across communities everywhere in Canada–putting our water, air, food and quality of life at risk.”

Buoyed–like so many activist movements–by social media, Idle No More has led to demonstrations and flash mobs not only in Canada, but in the US as well.

“It’s not just First Nations or aboriginal people. I think it’s a culmination of a lot things,” said John Noon, who took part in a flash mob in Saskatoon. “It’s like Occupy. It’s building on that. It’s going worldwide.”

Thanks to reader Marika for the heads-up!