Idle No More and Defenders of the Land join to call for sustained campaign of action

March 18, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 19, 2013

Media contacts: Clayton Thomas-Muller - 613.297.7515, Sylvia McAdam - 306.281.8158, Sheelah McLean - 306.280.3245. 

 

Idle No More, Defenders of Land Call for Intensifying Actions through Spring, Summer

Canada/- Idle No More’s founders and its chapters across the country have issued a call to build mounting pressure, including through mass non-violent direct actions to be joined by non-natives, to challenge “the Harper government and the corporate agenda.”

The declaration, jointly released with Defenders of the Land, a network of Indigenous communities, leaders, and activists involved in high-profile struggles to defend their land rights, calls for a “Solidarity Spring” to precede a “Sovereignty Summer,” with actions on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on March 21, Earth Day on April 22, and through the summer.

“The Harper government’s agenda is clear: to weaken all collective rights and environmental protections, in order to turn Canada into an extraction state that gives corporations unchecked power to destroy our communities and environment for profit,” reads the statement [1].

“Harper is trying to extinguish Indigenous Peoples’ inherent, Aboriginal, and treaty rights to their territories because these rights are the best and last protection for all Canadians,” said Arthur Manuel, a spokesperson for Defenders of the Land.

“Across the country, people are increasingly supporting First Nations who are trying to protect lands, waters, and air for everyone,” said Sylvia McAdam, one of the founders of Idle No More.

The demands of Idle No More and Defenders of the Land include a repeal of sections of the now passed Bill C-45 that impact the environment along with Aboriginal and treaty rights; changing the electoral system to proportional representation; ensuring consultation happens before any legislation is introduced that impacts collective rights and the environment; the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; an end to the government’s policies of “extinguishment” of Aboriginal title; the full implementation of treaties; and active resistance to violence against women and a national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women.

Upcoming action days

March 21 - International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

April 22 - Earth Day

Nationwide autonomous local protests highlighting the importance of Indigenous rights in combating the Harper and corporate agenda.

Sovereignty Summer

A campaign of coordinated non-violent direct actions to promote Aboriginal rights and environmental protection in alliance with non-native supporters.

                                                 -30-

1. The full statement is available at: www.defendersoftheland.org/sites/www.defendersoftheland.org/files/INM-Defenders Final.pdf

 

For more information:

www.idlenomore.ca

www.defendersoftheland.org

 
 
IDLE NO MORE SOLIDARITY SPRING
 
A Call to Action from Idle No More & Defenders of the Land
 
Idle No More has sparked an awakening of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples internationally in support for democracy, human rights and environmental protections. In three short months, the movement has succeeded in raising global consciousness through education, cultural resurgence, and democratic political activism. We have shaken the foundations of inequality in Canada, and invited communities to join in a movement for social and environmental justice. We now need many more people to stand with us.
 
The Harper government’s agenda is clear: to weaken all collective rights and environmental protections, in order to turn Canada into an extraction state that gives corporations unchecked power to destroy our communities and environment for profit. Harper is trying to extinguish Indigenous Peoples' Inherent, Aboriginal and Treaty rights to their territories, because these rights are the best and last protection for all Canadians. Idle No More has confronted these policies, and Harper supporters such as ex-Minister of Aboriginal Affairs John Duncan, suspended Senator Patrick Brazeau, resigned minister Peter Penashue, and Tom Flanagan have been called into question by grassroots people.  
 
Idle No More will help rebuild the nation-to-nation relationship that is the foundation of this country. This means deepening democracy, respecting Indigenous sovereignty and protecting the land and waters from further resource extraction without the affected Indigenous Peoples’ free, prior, and informed consent. 
 
We know it will take a lot more to defeat Harper and the corporate agenda. But against the power of their money and weapons, we have the power of our bodies and spirits. There is nothing that can match the power of peaceful, collective action in the defense of people and Mother Earth.
 
Idle No More and Defenders of the Land, a network of Indigenous communities in land struggle, have joined together to issue this common call for escalating action. Our demands are clear and in accordance with the principles of coexistence and mutual respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples. We demand that Canada, the provinces and the territories:
 
1. Repeal provisions of Bill C-45 (including changes to the Indian Act and Navigable Waters Act, which infringe on environmental protections, Aboriginal and Treaty rights) and abandon all pending legislation which does the same.
 
2. Deepen democracy in Canada through practices such as proportional representation and consultation on all legislation concerning collective rights and environmental protections,  and include legislation which restricts corporate interests. 
 
3. In accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples’ principle of free, prior, and informed consent, respect the right of Indigenous peoples to say no to development on their territory. 
 
4. Cease its policy of extinguishment of Aboriginal Title and recognize and affirm Aboriginal Title and Rights, as set out in section 35 of Canada’s constitution, and recommended by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.
 
5. Honour the spirit and intent of the historic Treaties. Officially repudiate the racist Doctrine of Discovery and the Doctrine of Terra Nullius, and abandon their use to justify the seizure of Indigenous Nations lands and wealth.
 
6. Actively resist violence against women and hold a national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and involve Indigenous women in the design, decision-making, process and implementation of this inquiry, as a step toward initiating a comprehensive and coordinated national action plan.
 
 
CALLS TO ACTION
 
March 21st International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
 
We are calling for decentralized actions across the country.
 
March 30 Day of Solidarity with the Unist'ot'en
 
On March 30, 2013, the Unist'ot'en have called for a day of solidarity actions against the development and financing of Pacific Trail Pipelines: for more information see: https://on.fb.me/116J4Hg
 
April 22 Earth Day
 
Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous rights are in many cases the best defence against environmental destruction by unchecked greed and industrial development. This Earth Day we are calling for nationwide autonomous local protests -- and a mass non-violent direct action in Ottawa to be announced soon -- highlighting the importance of Indigenous rights in combating the Harper and corporate agenda. We are asking people to prominently include messaging on Indigenous and Treaty rights in their actions. 
 
Sovereignty Summer
 
Indigenous communities have the right to determine the development on their traditional and treaty territories. In defending their right to say "No" to unwanted development, First Nations like Barriere Lake, KI, Grassy Narrows and many others are advancing alternatives that help us re-imagine our relationship to the environment. Across the country, people are increasingly supporting First Nations who are trying to protect lands, waters and air for everyone, and to win recognition of marine protections, of sustainable forestry, of local, just economies, and of the principle that we must respect the environment that we are a part of.
 
We are calling on non-Indigenous people to join Indigenous communities in coordinated non-violent direct actions in the summer. Alternatives will only come to life if we escalate our actions, taking bold non-violent direct action that challenges the illegitimate power of corporations who dictate government policy. 
 
 
Signed by:
 
IDLE NO MORE FOUNDERS, LEAD ORGANIZERS, PROVINCIAL AND TERRITORIAL CHAPTERS, AND WORKING GROUPS
DEFENDERS OF THE LAND 
KITCHENUHMAYKOOSIB INNINUWUG FIRST NATION
ALGONQUINS OF BARRIERE LAKE 
ARDOCH ALGONQUIN FIRST NATION 
JUDY DA SILVA - GRASSY NARROWS WOMEN’S DRUM
CHIEF CANDICE PAUL - ST MARY’S FIRST NATION
CHIEF ARLEN DUMAS - MATHIAS COLOMB CREE NATION (PUKATAWAGAN)
MILTON BORN-WITH-A-TOOTH - PEIGAN NATION*
TERRY SAPPIER - TOBIQUE FIRST NATION*
DINI ZE TOGHESTIY - HEREDITARY CHIEF, LIKHTS’AMISYU CLAN, WET’SUWET’EN
FREDA HUSON - SPOKESPERSON OF THE UNIST'OT'EN-WET'SUWET'EN NATION
MEL BAZIL - LHE LIN LIYIN CO-FOUNDER, GRASSROOTS WET'SUWET’EN
CAROL MARTIN - DOWNTOWN EASTSIDE WOMEN’S CENTRE*
REBEKA TABOBONDUNG, PUBLISHER - MUSKRAT MAGAZINE
AUDREY HUNTLEY - NO MORE SILENCE NETWORK 
MELINA LABOUCAN-MASSIMO - LUBICON CREE FIRST NATION*
RUSSELL DIABO - MOHAWK NATION (KAHNAWAKE)*
ARTHUR MANUEL - SECWEPEMC NATION, INDIGENOUS NETWORK ON ECONOMIES AND TRADE
CLAYTON THOMAS-MUELLER - PUKATAWAGAN CREE NATION*, INDIGENOUS TAR SANDS CAMPAIGN
INDIGENOUS SOVEREIGNTY AND SOLIDARITY NETWORK
 
 
*Identification provided for information purposes only.
 
To add your First Nation, your organization, or yourself as a signer, send an email to defe...@gmail.com or idle...@gmail.com. Please indicate whether you are Indigenous or a non-Native supporter.