Idle No More: A profound social movement that is already succeeding

Judy Rebick – – Monday, 14 January 2013 (originally published 08 Jan)
Idle No More: A profound social movement that is already succeeding. Image: Idle No More

I haven’t written about Idle No More yet because I am inspired by the plethora of Indigenous voices that we are finally hearing across the country, including of late in the mainstream media. If I learned anything from the women’s movement it is that we have to speak for ourselves, not be represented by others, however well meaning and supportive. Instead I have devoted my support for the movement to sharing the many brilliant and informative articles, the announcements and reports of events and the beautiful graphics and photos from Idle No More to my rather large social media network. The spurious attacks against Chief Theresa Spence over the last couple of days have made me decide to speak out.

I don’t know if Theresa Spence is a good chief. It seems to be that is up to the members of Attawapiskat to decide. Others, more informed that I, including most eloquently Chelsea Vowel who writes the blog âpihtawikosisân, have countered the attacks against her by pointing out, among other things, that most of the problems reported in the audit happened before she was elected chief in 2010. A fact that most media is ignoring.

What I do know is that Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike has inspired a generation of Indigenous youth to stand up, organize and speak out. “She is prepared to die for us,” one young man explained. Whether or not she is a good chief to her reserve is irrelevant to the fact that she is a courageous and inspired symbol for her people. What’s more, she has accomplished what no one else has been able to do, including the premiers. She has forced Stephen Harper to do something he didn’t want to do . . .

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