UPDATE: The Call out for border actions on Jan 5th has been cancelled. Read the posting by Turtle Island Movement below.
Spread through social media and fuelled by both the current and historic treatment of First Nation communities by the Canadian government, the Idle No More movement has spread across the continent and around the globe. Within Canadian borders over 100 events have taken place, including rallies, flash mob round dances, teach-ins and blockades. Actions have been held in every province and territory of Canada.
Solidarity rallies and flash mobs have taken place around the world. Over 30 events have been held in the United States, across the continent and in Hawaii. Solidarity rallies were also held in Stockholm, Sweden, London, UK, Berlin Germany, Auckland, New Zealand, and Cairo, Egypt, and messages of support have come from Croatia, Ukraine and Palestine.
“We wanted to show our brothers and sisters in Canada that we feel your suffering, The Canadian and U.S. governments can no longer ignore us,” said Jordan Harmon a member of the Mvskoke Nation, who is organizing a flash mob round dance in Tulsa Oklahoma.
Many of the events have been held to support the hunger strike of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, who is refusing to eat until Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Governor General David Johnston agree to meet with her and other First Nation leaders.
While most of the actions have consisted of rallies and flash mob round dances, several blockades of roads and railways have also occurred, in addition to traffic slow-downs to hand out information.
- In Manitoba a blockade of the Trans-Canada Highway took place just outside Portage La Prairie.
- In Alberta four highway blockades took place. They were in Hobbema, Driftpile, Blood Tribe territory and Frog Lake First Nation territory.
- There was a rally and rail blockade in Peepeekisis, Saskatchewan.
- In Ontario a blockade took place north of Manitoulin Island at the intersection of Highway 6 and 17 at Espanola, a convoy near London shut down Highway 401, and members of Aamjiwnaang First Nation have set up an ongoing blockade of a rail line at a chemical factory near Sarnia.
- In Quebec highway 132 was shut down, and a traffic slowdown took place at the bridge between Campbellton, New Brunswick and Pointe-À-La-Croix, Quebec.
- Two traffic slow-downs accompanied by the handing out of information took place in Nova Scotia, one just south of Truro and the other at the bridge linking Cape Breton Island to the mainland.
These blockades may be a sign of things to come. A group known as Turtle Island Movement has called for January 5th to be a day to shut down Canadian border crossings, "to show the government that we are willing to escalate this to a point where we shut down the country."
"The general idea is to accomplish worldwide attention to the injustices happening to the First Nations & citizens of Canada - while also affecting the Canadian government’s economy," explained a statement by the group, which noted that they were calling for peaceful gatherings.
Border actions have already been called for including a traffic slow down at the crossing between Fort Frances, Ontario and International Falls, Minnesota and a blockade the Peace Bridge, which connects Fort Erie, Ontario to Buffalo, New York.
“We are calling for our brothers, sisters and allies of Southern Ontario & Western New York to join us on this day to participate in the Nationwide Border Blockade event” said Karissa John, a Mohawk women living in Fort Erie, who is helping to organize the blockade of the Peace Bridge.
A separate callout, provided to the media co-op, has been made to go beyond the blocking of borders and to: "Stop all movement of TRADE GOODS across our traditional lands, every major highway, bi-way and rail lines!"
Several flash mobs and rallies have also been called for January 5th.
The following is a map of Idle No More actions that have already occurred or will be taking place:
View #IdleNoMore Events in a larger map
UPDATE: Statement posted on the facebook page set up by the Turtle Island Movement:
Many rumors are being sent out that this event page was created under the request of chief spence - this is not true - we created this event to host a peaceful blockade in solidarity with chief spence & idle no more - however due to a huge lack of support & also out of respect for chief Spence's wishes - we are going to shut down this event page & the border blockade will not happen at the peace arch border - chief spence asked that her name is not associated with these blockades & she does not condone this type of protest - again this all came about because someone made a Facebook page using her name & misinforming people of the peaceful blockades that were to take place. Sorry for any problems this may cause - please spread this message - this page will be closed by the end of the day.
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Tim Groves is an investigative researcher and journalist based in Toronto. He can be reached at timgrovesreports [at] gmail.com and tweets @timymit. For more information on his work visit http://timgrovesreports.wordpress.com.
A note on sourcing: this is a map of where people have informed us that events are taking place. As the number of events have increased significantly, independent fact checking has ceased. When available, links are included to source material.