Backing Idle No More
About a dozen ‘Cuspians’ and their friends attended the December 21st Idle No More rally at Spirit Garden, Thunder Bay, on the edge of beautiful Gitchigoomie. The sun shone brightly and two eagles soared above. In spite of the cold, hearts were warm and all were united in support of this most significant initiative led by our first peoples.
One of our members, Paul Berger, was interviewed by CBC Radio’s Nicole Ireland. His brief and excellent account of CUSP’s reasons for being at the rally occupy one minute of this audio clip, starting at 4:46.
CUSP members participated in two more Idle No More events in January 2013. The first included a march across the Trans-Canada Highway bridge near Nipigon on the 16th. A short video report by Jody Porter is available from CBC News.
The second gathering on the 28th started with prayer, songs and speeches at Thunder Bay City Hall, and proceeded as a march along several streets. Joyce Hunter, leader of Idle No More-Thunder Bay, spoke of the many pieces of damaging legislation rammed through Parliament by the Harper government without consultation or proper debate. She made the point that these affect all Canadians, not just Aboriginal peoples. The text of her speech as well as photos can be seen at NetNewsLedger
Here is what CUSP member Scott Harris had to say shortly afterwards: “Joyce Hunter spoke eloquently, as did Ms. Bottle, but also Peter Collins from Fort William First Nation, and Mayor Keith Hobbs… After the speeches we paraded around the city for 40 minutes. It was all good. About 120 showed up, and there were 15-20 police helping things run smoothly. Loads of press, and Paul did a great job of speaking to them.”
And here are Paul Berger’s words to the Chronicle-Journal:
“Treaty issues are an all-Canadian issue. Idle No More is pushing for social justice and environmental protection, and those are also things that all Canadians should be interested in, especially in these days when anybody who is paying any attention can see that we are marching quickly towards an environmental cliff.”
About Ring of Fire mining development and how the concerns of Aboriginal communities are being pushed aside through lack of consultation: “It is one of these major resource development projects that isn’t up for a joint panel review and it should be. There should be consultation happening with Aboriginal communities who will want some of the benefit, and rightly so, if the project goes ahead.”
About the INM movement: “I think it will gain speed and keep going. Already it has done an enormous amount to raise consciousness among all Canadians.”