"When the government violates the rights of the people, insurrection is, for the people and for each segment of the population, the most sacred of rights and the most fundamental of duties."
Hundreds of First Nations people gathered yesterday for Idle No More, a national day of protest against the Canadian federal government's Bill C-45 (the so-called "Jobs and Growth Act") which intentionally attempts to supersede and violate long-standing treaty rights in oder to promote 'ecnomic growth' and private business interests.- Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, 24 June 1793
The omnibus legislation contains changes to the Indian Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act impacting all areas of land and water, and effectively removing all legal grounds for First Nations communities to determine what happens within their territories.
Crystal Lameman with the Beaver Lake First Nation argues that the Harper government has ignored its duty to consult with First Nations on the changes:
"In our treaty, it says that we will always be able to go to the land to subsist, but when you are pulling fish from the lake that have cancers hanging off of them, and that the migration pattern of the Woodland caribou are being affected, that's our basic human rights being violated."Protests were also held in other Canadian cities including Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and Toronto.
SAMSON CREE FIRST NATION PRESS RELEASE:
“Pipes will be lifted in support of Idle No More; this pipe ceremony will signify peace between two Nations and with the Creator. The presence of the pipe signifies the pipe laws of gentleness, compassion and mutual respect.”The Cree of Maskwacis will be holding a pipe ceremony and peaceful demonstration on Hwy 2A at Maskwacis. For that purpose, a portion of the main highway between the Highway 611 West and Pe Sakastew Correctional Centre will be blocked between 11:15 am and 12:15 pm.
Alternate routes will be posted for those travelers who are not able to stay and support the peaceful demonstration.
We are taking this opportunity, coinciding with 12th hour of the 12th day of December 2012, to bring awareness to First Nations’ opposition to legislation proposed by the Harper government.
We also want people to bring attention to the hunger strike started on Tuesday, December 11, 2012, by Chief Theresa Spence, Attawapiskat First Nation, a First Nation in northern Ontario, who has ‘vowed to ‘die’ for her people’. She has been quoted as saying: “I am willing to die for my people because the pain is too much and it’s time for the government to realize what it’s doing to us.”
In the past term of office, the Harper government has introduced several pieces of legislation in the House of Commons and the Senate which will significantly impact the lives of First Nations’ people across Canada. Not only has this legislation been introduced without any real participation by the people affected by the legislation, it is being ‘fast-tracked’ through the House of Commons and the Senate.
When First Nations people agreed to share their lands and resources with ‘newcomers’, First Nations could not have foreseen that, in time, not only would First Nations become landless, but that First Nations would have to conform to the ideologies, and world views of the ‘visitors’. That time has come to pass. Despite the adoption of the International Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, by the United Nations and subsequent ratification in Canada, Canada is unilaterally passing laws governing the First Nations without the free, prior and informed consent of the First Nations people.
The bills before the House of Commons and the Senate directly undermines First Nations’ right of self-determination, and subjugates First Nations people to a legal and political system that has not served the collective interests of First Nations.
In Samson Cree Nation’s letter to the Member of Parliament for Wetaskiwin, Samson Cree Nation lobbied the MP to reject the proposed legislation, bring these matters to the grass roots people, and to obtain First Nations support for legislation that will directly affect the lives and future of First Nations before endorsing it in the House of Commons.#IdleNoMore