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Why Canada's Indigenous Uprising Is About All of Us

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opednews.com Headlined to H4 5/15/13

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reprinted from YesMagazine

When a new law paved the way for tar sands pipelines and other fossil fuel development on native lands, four women swore to be "idle no more." The idea took off.


Founders of Idle No More, from left, Sheelah McLean, Nina Wilson, Sylvia McAdam, Jessica Gordon by Marcel Petit

Indigenous Women Take the Lead in Idle No More

Motivated by ancient traditions of female leadership as well as their need for improved legal rights, First Nations women are stepping to the forefront of the Idle No More movement.

McLean: I have visions of tackling inequality; we're one of the richest countries in the world off indigenous lands and resources, and yet they are some of the poorest communities. And I'd like to see sustainable communities. What's beautiful is that sustainable energy and technologies are absolutely in line with everything that Sylvia talks about in terms of indigenous laws on how to live with the land.

McAdam: It's absolutely that, yeah. For me it's also self-determination for my people. And I would like that young people no longer utilize suicide as an option. 

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van Gelder: How do you see things going from here?

McLean: We're starting to connect to the global community, to the United Nations, to solidarity groups around the world. Indigenous peoples worldwide are facing these same issues of having their land taken away, their resources extracted, and their land and water poisoned.

As more and more people come on board, it will take the shape that it needs to take. Each community has to decide how they're going to tackle the issues of sovereignty and rethinking what it means to live with the land and water. It is going to continue to grow, there's no doubt about that. And it will take various forms of resistance and building.

McAdam: Indigenous self-determination, so
A woman stops traffic at an Idle No More event in Vancouver, British Columbia by Tamara Herman

Indigenous Women Take the Lead in Idle No More

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Motivated by ancient traditions of female leadership as well as their need for improved legal rights, First Nations women are stepping to the forefront of the Idle No More movement.

McLean: I have visions of tackling inequality; we're one of the richest countries in the world off indigenous lands and resources, and yet they are some of the poorest communities. And I'd like to see sustainable communities. What's beautiful is that sustainable energy and technologies are absolutely in line with everything that Sylvia talks about in terms of indigenous laws on how to live with the land.

McAdam: It's absolutely that, yeah. For me it's also self-determination for my people. And I would like that young people no longer utilize suicide as an option. 

van Gelder: How do you see things going from here?

McLean: We're starting to connect to the global community, to the United Nations, to solidarity groups around the world. Indigenous peoples worldwide are facing these same issues of having their land taken away, their resources extracted, and their land and water poisoned.

As more and more people come on board, it will take the shape that it needs to take. Each community has to decide how they're going to tackle the issues of sovereignty and rethinking what it means to live with the land and water. It is going to continue to grow, there's no doubt about that. And it will take various forms of resistance and building.

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Sarah van Gelder is co-founder of YES! Magazine and has been its executive editor since it began publication in 1996. Her focus at YES! is on the solutions and innovations that address the most profound issues of our time. Each issue of YES! (more...)
 

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