“Idle No More”: First Nations Resistance Movement across Canada


“A study was done of all band audits ever done to look for evidence of corruption. Less than three percent of all of those audits ever found anything that could even be close to an individual purposely taking money for their own purposes and mismanaging it. That’s a lower corruption rate than all of the municipalities, provinces and Canada put together. So who is the corrupt ones here? It’s not First Nations!” – Miq’Maq lawyer Pam Palmater

Idle No More is an indigenous resistance movement that has taken hold in centres across Canada. It has featured a number of flash mobs and Round dances in public places like shopping malls and traffic intersections. The movement has mostly been peaceful, although there have been a few road and rail blockades.

The focus is on pieces of legislation that the founders of the movement, four Saskatchewan women named Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon & Sheelah McLean, saw as further undermining First Nations sovereignty.

The movement got a boost when on December 11, Theresa Spence, Chief of the beleaguered Northern Ontario First Nation of Attawapiskat, started a hunger strike to call attention to long-standing frustrations within the First Nations Community and to force the Canadian Prime Minister and the Queen’s Representative in Canada, Governor General David Johnston, to meet with First Nations leaders.

As of January 10, 2013, the Prime Minister has agreed to meet with First Nations leaders, although the Governor General has not, except in a ‘ceremonial’ capacity.

The fact is, a nation-to-nation partnership formed between the Indigenous First Nations and European settlers which made it possible for the territory to be opened up for exploitation by settlers. Treaties between the British Crown and First Nations were at the heart of this arrangement. However, subsequent generations of settler governments took advantage of the arrangement, and have yet to live up to these agreements signed in good faith by the keepers of the land, the First Nations.

Given these realities at the core of our society in the Western Hemisphere, it is crucial that these fundamental issues be grappled with before the cause of social justice can be meaningfully addressed.

This installment of the Global Research News Hour focuses on the movement spreading throughout Canada and the world known as IDLE NO MORE.

Guests include Sociologist, writer and Indigenous activist Robert Animiiki Horton, and Professor of Globalization Studies Anthony Hall. They discuss the challenges facing the movement, advice for non-Indigenous supporters, and some of the historical and legal backdrop to this resurging resistance.


Length (59:29)

Click to download audio (MP3 format)

The Global Research News Hour hosted by Michael Welch airs on CKUW 95.9FM in Winnipeg Thursdays at 10am CDT. The programme is broadcast weekly by CKUW News, 95.9 FM out of Winnipeg, MB, and on Canadian community radio networks. The weekly programme is available for download on the Global Research website.