BY SHERRI MITCHELL
IDLE NO MORE is a peaceful movement for Aboriginal/Indigenous rights and environmental justice that began in Canada in October of 2012. It was initiated by four warrior women in Saskatchewan, who began hosting “Teach-Ins” around the issues that First Nations people were facing. It began as a protest against outdated termination policies resurrected by Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper in Bill C 45. Harper’s administration is attempting to destroy the protected status of First Nations lands and waters and extinguish inherent Aboriginal and Treaty Rights, while also dismantling vital environmental protections across Canada. The movement has also been linked, by the media, to the actions of specific First Nations leaders, who have come to symbolize the fact that Indigenous people are literally starving for justice.
Sherri Mitchell – Penobscot Nation
Harper’s termination policies are designed to unilaterally diminish or eliminate the rights of First Nations peoples, by making changes to key areas of the Indian Act and other laws that provide protections for the rights of First Nations and their lands and waterways. This is being done in violation of the Canadian Constitution, Treaty Law and Customary International Law. These actions are also in direct opposition to the rights outlined by the United Nations in the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was endorsed by Canada in November of 2010.
In order to accomplish his termination goals, the Harper government introduced three new policy strategies:
A “results based” approach to negotiate Modern Treaties and Self-Government Agreements. This involves an assessment process of 93 negotiation tables across Canada, that are being used to coerce First Nations into signing agreements that terminate their status as First Nations and eliminate their Aboriginal and Treaty rights, under the terms of Canada’s Comprehensive Claims and Self-Government policies. These agreements turn First Nations into municipalities of Canada, they change the protected status of their lands, changing them from reserve lands to taxable fee lands, that are able to be sold by individuals, and they eliminate their Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.
Sherri Mitchell, is a citizen of the Penobscot Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Arizona, James E. Rogers College of Law, where she received a JD and certificate in Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy. She is the Director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the protection of Indigenous land rights. She is currently working with the Tribes and First Nations of the Wabanaki Confederacy, to address the ongoing violation of treaty agreements, Canadian law and customary International law. The Wabanaki confederacy consists of four tribes, the Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Mik Maq and Maliseet, which are located in Maine and the Canadian Maritimes.
posted January 31, 2013 7:50 am est