Idle No More! This is serious

I write today in response to an Ottawa Citizen piece by Terry Glavin titled “Idle No More? Let’s get serious“.

Glavin makes me angry in the first line. He starts off his propaganda piece by calling “creepy” a wide-spread, peaceful demonstration of democratic freedom expressing dissatisfaction with the status quo and disagreement with the direction we are headed.

He follows by being dismissive and condescending toward Chief Spence’s courageous hunger strike. Framing it as though her action is improper because of the conditions on so many reserves.

That Occupy has fallen from the headlines is taken by certain pundits to mean that Occupy failed. This is like saying GDP is the best measure of quality of life. Occupy’s gains may not be easily quantifiable, but they are no less real and Occupy is not gone.

There is nothing paranoid about concerns over C-45. Problems with C-45, from being undemocratic at the outset, to the long term harms it will bring, are well reasoned and well documented.

Glavin calls people who are actively calling for change “idlers” and proceeds to tell these ilders as though they were children that they should not look for a “magic way forward”. These people are anti-idle, and no one expects “magic” unless one considers respect and integrity to fall into that realm.

I would be interested to hear Mr Crey’s take on Glavin’s piece. I hope that Mr Crey does not truly dismiss the value of raising public awareness, and further hope that he does not think that colourful demonstrations are all that Idle No More has to offer.

There is hard work to be done. Glavin seems to suggest that we should sit down, shut up and wait for the powers that be to look after it. How has that worked for Canadians, aboriginal or otherwise, so far?

As for “transformational change in the consciousness of white North Americans”, I’ll speak from my experience as one raised in a very white Canadian neighbourhood and too long ignorant of all things aboriginal.

I was standing by the Hope Slough not long ago, watching a handful of salmon spawn, when the word “reserve” rose unbidden to mind. I looked around me at Sto:lo land and thought “Reserve. What is that?” Then as some realization sunk in, “What do we do now?”

That moment felt pretty transformational to me. I don’t know what we do now. What I can do is stand in support of justice for all people and I am grateful for the welcome I have received from Idle No More to do that.

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