Jarrett Martineau calls himself a “grassroots media campaigner” for the Idle No More movement. A 35-year-old member of the Frog Lake First Nation in Alberta, he’s a PhD student in indigenous governance at the University of Victoria.
Martineau helped build the J11action.com website, which informed people of plans for more than 200 events on the indigenous-sovereignty movement’s January 11 global day of action. He also helped organize UVic’s #J16Forum teach-in on Idle No More, which drew 1,200 in-person and online attendees on January 16.
As the creative producer of the site Revolutions Per Minute, Martineau spreads the word about talented indigenous musicians. Earlier this month, RPM released Idle No More: Songs for Life, Volume 1, a downloadable compilation of songs by various artists. With the growth of Idle No More, RPM is now moving toward becoming an online radio network to support the movement. They’re also looking at developing an Idle No More mobile app.
Another thing that Martineau is working on is an Idle No More media hub, which will help organizers plan actions and connect with each other, and make it easier for participants to find events.
The Georgia Straight reached Martineau by phone in Victoria.
Would Idle No More exist without Twitter hashtags and Facebook events?
Absolutely, it would. But we would not at all have seen the speed with which people have been mobilized in the last seven weeks without it, and that has been fundamental to getting the kinds of numbers and range of activities that we’ve been seeing in the movement.
What other Internet technologies have contributed to the growth of the movement?
The use of the technology in the movement has reflected the growth of the movement itself. By that, I mean that people have used various forms of networked technology to connect with each other in the same way that different groups in the decentralized movement have self-organized. I think one big thing is the ubiquity of smartphones. That’s been a huge part of it. I think you see that phenomenon through all the videos and all the information sharing that’s gone on. That’s a huge connecting point, especially live streaming. There’s been a lot of amazing live streaming.
How are organizers coming together and communicating with each other?
I would say using any and all available means technologically. I’ve seen, and in my own experience, we’ve used social media to do further outreach to other people that are involved—you know, coders, hackers, web developers, requests for links to various forms of open-source stuff. There’s been a lot of things like sharing Google Docs and various ways of building out collaborative information sharing. That’s a really, really great thing that’s been taken up by organizers. So people are sharing the information that they have really widely.
You helped put together a website for the #J11 day of action that informed people about dozens of events around the world. How were you able to put that together so quickly?
We started getting some support on Twitter from Anonymous, and I haphazardly threw out a request on my own channel, just saying, “Hey, would anybody be interested in doing some volunteer web work to help build the Idle No More web presence?” Anonymous sent it out on their channel, and I got this huge response from people all offering to jump on board and contribute.
I actually ended up getting connected with a crew out of Toronto called Makook.ca. They had already started doing the work of mapping out the tweet velocity of all this stuff as this was taking off. I told them about the #J11 thing, and they thought it was a great idea. We connected with them, and we worked volunteer over the course of a couple days to get it set up.
What are the key hashtags you monitor in relation to the movement?
It’s changed a little bit. Obviously, the #IdleNoMore one has been common throughout. There have been other iterations that have waxed and waned as it’s gone on. For a period of time in December, when this was really taking off, a lot of people were using the #RoundDanceRevolution tag, which was cool. Obviously, that’s still kind of ongoing. I’ve since seen several iterations of #IdleNoMore that have also caught attention. #DividedNoMore, #IdleKnowMore have been interesting. I’ve seen people do the straight #INM tag as well.
All the #J tags, as well. So people have jumped off of the #J11 thing that we did to set the particular day and used it now for the national day of action, #J16. I’ve seen some for #J28, for the world one. I haven’t seen any #F ones yet. [There’s also the satirical #Ottawapiskat and the musical #SoundtracktheMovement.]
As a media campaigner involved with Idle No More, what are you looking forward to next?
One thing that I’ve gotten a huge response from just in talking to people—and this came up in our conversation at the UVic forum—is, because this information is as decentralized as the movement itself, people are having to go to a lot of different places to get a read on what’s happening. So what we’ve been talking about doing—and I’m in the process of talking about this with the guys from Makook—is building a collaborative media hub for people that want to organize Idle No More-related events and basically give the opportunity for people to do their own kind of #J11 site.
So if people want to organize an education day or an art project or the various kinds of actions that people want to do, we’d basically provide a bunch of resources to set up their own live stream event or Google Docs-sharing collaborative international day of action or whatever it is. Basically, give back the tools that we started to build. Give people a hub where they can take it and run with it, and ideally have a central spot where people can see all the different kinds of Idle No More events that are coming up and that are ongoing.