Photos: Idle No More marks first anniversary with Metrotown flash mob

About a year ago, the Idle No More movement arose in indigenous nations across Canada. Soon, the grassroots indigenous-sovereignty movement was everywhere: on Parliament Hill, at City Hall, in transit stations, on nightly TV newscasts and newspaper front pages, and even in shopping malls across the U.S.

On Sunday (December 22), Idle No More participants and supporters gathered at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby (on Coast Salish territory), marking the first anniversary of the movement's beginnings. Among other reasons, they came to express their rejection of tar-sands pipeline proposals from Enbridge and Kinder Morgan.

Local photographer Caelie Frampton captured these photos of the flash mob.

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G
Metrotown is no more on "Coast Salish land" than any part of Belgium is on Menapii land or Firenze is on Etruscan land. Idle No More was conceived by the people who hold power in Aboriginal communities as a distraction from the malfeasance of some aboriginal leaders. Chief Spence got the ball rolling when her diet was spun in propaganda as a "hunger strike" when the books of the Attawapiskat band were under investigation.

Maltreatment of Aboriginal people often starts with their local government. The highest paid politicians in Canada are a few native Chiefs, a shocking fact when one looks at the poverty rates of the bands where that is the case. Exploitation begins on the reserve and all too often the few people who manage to be heard complaining about corrupt band government are silenced or shouted down. That is the case with the people of Attawapiskat living in shacks even though the band has substantial income beyond cash from the Federal Government. Some people complained about the band government not distributing payments from the DeBeers mine, millions of dollars unaccounted for, but they were quickly removed from media access. The media themselves were complicit by failing to publicize Chief Spence's actual food intake as opposed to her proclaimed "hunger strike."

The entrenched native leadership has no interest in facing corruption on reserves, nor do they enjoy the comparisons between leaders like Clarence Louie who put the people first and those like Teresa Spence who use the people to further her own interests. The difference is that Chief Louie is a person who does things and refused to be idle almost 30 years ago. He oversaw investment in his people and the local community that made the Osoyoos people a net employer in their area. Everyone in the area has benefitted from the hard work of Clarence Louie and the Osoyoos Band: who has benefitted from the millions given every year to the Attawapiskat Band?

Idle No More will accomplish little as the basic mismanagement & corruption in some Bands will continue. Chief Louie's leadership could help but the national Aboriginal groups don't appreciate his successful leadership: they would rather the Osoyoos Band still be living on welfare in poverty. Success shows that there are options for some Bands besides widespread unemployment and waiting for another cheque from the government.
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Jim Spencley
Typical response - lets just demonize those who are bringing attention to the abuses of the cororate plutoccracy (including bought off tribal sell outs)and perhaps the issues will go away. My forefathers 'settled' the west. They came to the 'new world' as indentured slaves after the Clearances (in Scotland) and 'settled' in the west after the genocide of the indigineous (look up the indian removal act of 1830,US for the official start of this) in which both the British and later Canadian govt's were complicent. Now the corps have pushed out the farmers and ranchers and taking control of the resources. Idle No More may be an aboriginal voice but it is a loud yell telling us all to WAKE UP before it's too late.
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Zoltan Mityok
Thanks Jim
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