December 18, 2012
Idle no More – Grassroots First Nations movement building momentum
The National Aboriginal Peoples' Circle (NAPC) of the Public Service Alliance of Canada together with the leadership of the union are proud to stand in support of the grassroots First Nations movement “Idle no More.” Rallies in major centres across the country have brought thousands of Aboriginal peoples and their supporters to the streets, and more are planned in coming weeks.
The Harper government has announced a series of legislative changes that will deeply affect the right of First Nations to their inherent treaty and sovereignty rights. “Our people have tried every option possible to work with successive governments to establish our right to self-determination,” says Magali Picard, Alliance Executive Committee chair of the National Circle. “We have tried to negotiate, we have tried diplomacy and we have - at great expense – fought in the courts. But still we are being ignored. That is why we are - Idle no More.
No to the Enbridge pipeline
Bill C-45, the so-called Jobs and Growth Act, saw the vast majority of waterways in Canada left without environmental protection. Many PSAC members from the Union of Environment Workers will be affected by these cuts – and so too will many First Nations who are in opposition to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline. It is slated to run through dozens of Aboriginal communities across British Columbia. “Our rights are protected under Section 35 of the Constitution. We will not allow the government to impose the Enbridge pipeline and tankers on us.” said Martin Louie, Chief of the Nadleh Whu'ten First Nation in central B.C.
Attawapiskat Chief on Hunger Strike
Chief Theresa Spence of the beleagured Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario is currently on a hunger strike and is determined not to eat until granted an audience with the Prime Minister or a representative of the Queen. "I am willing to die for my people because the pain is too much and it's time for the government to realize what it's doing to us." Her actions have inspired hundreds of people across the country who are beginning their own sympathy hunger strikes.
The Idle no More movement is rapidly expanding and new events are happening daily. “Aboriginal peoples need allies at this critical juncture” says National President Robyn Benson, “and we encourage all PSAC members to participate in any actions that may be happening in their community.”
Date Modified : 2012/12/18