Monday is World Day of Action – Idle No More Movement Not Slowing Down – by Don Smith
Unclear if local border crossing will be Interrupted
Monday January 28 2013 is a worldwide day of solidarity for Idle No More participants, with rallies planned for Parliament Hill and a number of communities in several countries including Canada and the United States.
According to a January 10 post on the Idle No More website: This day of action will peacefully protest attacks on Democracy, Indigenous Sovereignty, Human Rights and Environmental Protections when Canadian MPs return to the House of Commons on January 28th. As a grassroots movement, clearly no political organization speaks for Idle No More. This movement is of the people …
INM urges the government of Canada to repeal all legislation; which violates Treaties, Indigenous Sovereignty and subsequently Environmental Protections of land and water.
INM is grateful to many leaders who have supported this vision and the movement of the grassroots people. “The Treaties are the last line of defense to protect water and lands from destruction,” stated Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper Turtle Clan, Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs.
Business as usual in Cornwall area
Although an assortment of solidarity rallies are planned for other communities in Ontario and across the globe, no official rally is planned for our area. The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne (MCA) website has information on recent Idle No More initiatives, but is mute concerning tomorrow’s events. The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe (SRMT) site is clear that community leaders from both the Canadian and U.S. sides of the reserve are encouraging community members to participate in the events centred around Parliament Hill and to respect plans to keep the local bridge open at this time.
According to a January 26 SRMT post: On January 25, 2013 the leadership of Akwesasne met to discuss events planned for this coming Monday, January 28, 2013 which has been deemed a “National Day of Action” by Idle No More organizers. The Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe and Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs do not – at this time – endorse any local rally or activity that could result in the closure of the Three Nations Bridge Crossing.
While the leadership does support the Idle No More movement, activities which could result in a bridge closure must be planned well enough in advance for community members to make necessary arrangements. Additionally, emergency services must have adequate time to prepare for any potential disruptions that could result from a rally.
Rather than encouraging community members to plan a local rally this Monday, the Akwesasne leadership is instead sponsoring bus transportation to Ottawa on Monday morning where Idle No More organizers have planned for a larger rally to take place on Parliament Hill.
“That’s what we’re going to support,” said MCA Grand Chief Mike Kanentakeron Mitchell. “There may very well be a need for the community to rally together in Akwesasne in the coming months, but this Monday is not the time. We are encouraging interested community members to join the rally in Ottawa to show their support in a unified approach there.”
Recent events in Ottawa relating to the Idle No More movement have resulted in a meeting between Assembly of First Nations chiefs and Prime Minister Stephen Harper on January 11. The chiefs presented the Prime Minister with eight points outlining the concerns of First Nations in relation to the Idle No More movement and omnibus Bill C-45. The Prime Minister has agreed to review the eight points. Since the January 11 meeting, Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat Nation has ended her hunger strike.
Community members who wish to reserve a bus seat to Ottawa please contact Dwayne Thomas by phone at 613-551-4501 or by email at email@example.com. The bus(es) will depart IGA at approximately 8:30 a.m. and return at 5:00 p.m.
The post also indicates that those requiring further information should contact:
- Shannon Burns, Communications Manager, Mohawk Council of Akwesasne 613-575-2341 X 2210
- David Staddon, Public Information Director, Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, 518-358-2272 X 286
- Beulah Hill, Office Administrator, Mohawk Nation Council of Chiefs, 518-358-3381
Day of Action Events in and around Parliament Hill Monday 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.:
- 11:00 AM Meet at Victoria Island at the sacred fire of the Algonquins.
Firekeeper Peter Decontie and Elder Josee Whiteduck will conduct the opening ceremony.
- 11:10 AM Assemble on Wellington in the Westbound lanes. March towards Parliament Hill.
- 11:50 AM Meet up with Grandfather Drums and Jingle Dress Dancers at the Queen’s Gate to Parliament Hill. Let the Drummers and Jingle Dress Dancers lead with the Eagle Staff in front of the marchers.
- 12 NOON Arrive at Parliament Hill with Jingle Dress Dancers in the lead ringing their message of protection for the waters, and healing for everyone.
A Healing song and an Honour song will be sung.
- 12:20 PM Chief Gilbert Whiteduck and an Elder will welcome us to Parliament Hill.
- 12:30 PM Azure Smith-Spencer
- 12:35 PM Nina Was’te
- 12:40 PM Thomas Mulcair, Charlie Angus & Romeo Saganash
- 12:55 PM Chief Theresa Spence or spokesperson (unconfirmed)
- 1:00 PM Sheelah McLean
- 1:05 PM Ontario Chief Isadore Day
- 1:10 PM Justin Trudeau, Carolyn Bennett & Bob Rae
- 1:25 PM Regional Chief
- 1:30 PM Michelle Audette
- 1:35 PM Tony Belcourt
- 1:40 PM Regional Chief Stan Beardy
- 1:45 PM Elizabeth May & Lorraine Rekmans
- 1:55 PM Jess Gordon
- 2:00 PM Regional Chief
- 2:05 PM Bridget Tolley & Gladys Radek
- 2:15 PM Maude Barlow
- 2:20 PM Clayton Thomas-Mueller & Heather Milton Lightening
- 2:30 PM (unconfirmed) Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo
- 2:40 PM The assembled group sends a visual message to Parliament.
- 2:50 PM Women’s Drum takes over on the mike to sing a round dance.
Jingle dancers lead crowd in round dance on the lawn of Parliament Hill.
- 3:50 PM Elder smudges crowd for safe travel.
- 3:55 PM Head for the buses lined up along Wellington westbound 4 passenger pickup
- 4:00 PM Event is over. Permit expires.
Occupy Toronto plans to live stream the day’s events: Link
In spite of the official joint statement by Akwesasne community leaders, social media sites are buzzing with word that some may attempt a blockade of Cornwall’s Seaway International Bridge (a.k.a. Three Nations Bridge) at Cornwall Island from noon until sunset on Monday. Online posts from community members seem to indicate that the community is divided on whether or not a bridge closure Monday is for the greater good. Some argue that students need to get to school (exams at CCVS), others have to attend medical appointments and yet others need to get to their places of employment. No doubt some Akwesasne residents would be caught off-guard by an unannounced blockade.
Don Smith reports on a variety of topics, notably good news items as well as social justice issues.