9 January, 2013
CAORANN Stands in Solidarity with Idle No More
CAORANN - Celts Against Oppression, Racism, and Neo-Nazism - stands in solidarity with Idle No More.
Idle No More began with four women (three First Nations women and one non-Native ally) who felt it was urgent to act on current and upcoming legislation that not only affects First Nations people but the rest of Canada's citizens, lands and waters. The focus is on grassroots voices, nonviolent resistance, and First Nations sovereignty. The many treaties between the First Nations and the English Crown have been violated by non-Native Canadians, such as the right of the First Nations to control their landbase, and their right to deal with the English Crown on a nation to nation basis - not as subjects, but as equals.
Idle No More began in the early part of October 2012 when discussing Omnibus Bill C 45. The women knew that this was a time to act, as this bill and other proposed legislation would affect not only Indigenous people but also the lands, water and the rest of Canada. Already protections are being removed from rivers, wetlands, and other sensitive ecological systems. This movement is about making sure we all have clean air to breathe and clean water to drink. There have been teach-ins, flash mobs, roadblocks, and hunger strikes.
The struggle for sovereignty in the First Nations has many parallels to the struggle for sovereignty in the Six Celtic Nations. Both of our peoples have struggled against colonization, cultural and physical genocide, and our relatives have also sacrificed their lives in the struggle for independence from foreign rule.
Those of us living in the diaspora face different challenges than do our members in the Celtic Nations. Some of us live on First Nations or Native American land that is unceded territory, or where the treaties to co-exist in harmony were violated by our non-Native relatives. It is important to us to respect the traditional laws, treaties, and Elders of the lands where we now live, to find a way to live in harmony and mutual respect. We stand in solidarity with Idle No More.
This is an exciting time in history, and we are honored and humbled to be involved to the small extent that we are - supporting our Native friends and relatives and doing what we can to spread the word and assist in organizational efforts.
As a group with white members who also see what non-Natives get up to when no Natives are around, we must also issue this plea and caution: Indigenous Knowledge (IK) stealers, cultural appropriators and pretendians are trying to colonize Idle No More. This is mostly (only?) happening in areas with a low percentage of Natives in the general population. As requested by the founders, we urge our members and supporters of CAORANN to support Idle No More if their conscience leads them to do so. But we ask that non-Natives attend Idle No More events to support the Indigenous people, and to follow their guidance - to be there in solidarity, not to try to lead, and to listen more than they speak. We stress that this is a movement led by Indigenous women, and we are committed to making sure that remains the case. We further ask that if Native organizers let you know that there are appropriators, exploiters or ceremony-sellers trying to colonize events, steal IK, or steal Indigenous identity, that you, with the guidance of traditional people, assist them in keeping non-Natives from colonizing this movement or displacing Native voices with non-Native ones. We celebrate the unity and solidarity of our Peoples, but affirm that this must come from a place of mutual respect.
Please see our resource page for background information on working in solidarity, as well as our Facebook page, where we are posting updates.
The CAORANN Council,
Celts Against Oppression, Racism and Neo-Nazism
For clarifications on some of the terminology around "Indigenous," please see this page on our site:
On Indigenous Knowledge and Indigenous Identity
Here is a simple, one page flyer that explains the basics of Idle No More and includes content and links on cultural appropriation:
Why Are Native People and their Allies Protesting? What can I do to help?