“This is What Love Looks Like”: Idle No More in Toronto

Today at 2pm by the fountain in the middle of Toronto’s iconic Eaton’s Centre, hundreds of people joined in a flash mob in support of the Idle No More movement and Chief Theresa Spence.  In a heartening and spirited display, First Nations representatives and Canadian citizens beat drums, sang songs, and circled the fountain together shouting “Idle No More!” and “Feed Chief Spence!”.

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Chief Spence, a First Nations’ leader, has been on a hunger strike since December 11th, 2012, trying to get a meeting with Prime Minister Harper about how the Conservative government passed legislation (Bill C-45 and other legislation) that is detrimental to the environment and First Nations’ living conditions, and which broke the long-standing treaty relationship that First Nations groups have with the government.  The omnibus budget bill C-45 was passed without prior and informed public consent, and should be of concern to all Canadians.  So far, the Idle No More movement is being led by First Nations groups, with the growing support of Canadian citizens everywhere.  Prime Minister Harper still refuses to meet with Chief Spence, and so she continues to starve.

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The flash mob at the Eaton’s Centre is one of many demonstrations and flash mobs being organized across the country and in the U.S. as well.  For more information on the Idle No More movement and why all non-aboriginal Canadians should care, see the previous blog post on Idle No More here: ‘Idle No More’: Behind the Protest and Why Canadians Should Care.

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The movement’s momentum is growing, and as the days without food go by for Chief Spence, it is becoming more important than ever.  The feeling at the flash mob was one of hope, confidence, and determination.  If you search the hashtag #IdleNoMore on twitter or Google search Idle No More flash mobs, you may stay informed on future demonstrations in your area to get out and take part in.  It is extremely important that Harper and the Canadian government know that people everywhere support indigenous rights and demand a responsible, responsive and sympathetic government.  Government decisions should be made based on political commitments and responsibility to the people, not on short-term economic gains for a minority elite.

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Unfortunately, not everyone in the Eaton’s Centre was fully aware of what the protests were about.  It was not uncommon to hear passers by saying, “I wonder what they’re protesting for?”, or, “I think they want Native rights…”.  As much momentum as the movement has gained in a very short time, it has a long way to go.  Please share this information with your friends and networks to help support the fight for democratic responsibility to all people.

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