Idle No More protest comes to P.E.I.

Nigel Armstrong
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Close to 300 people gathered inside Charlottetown Mall Friday in support of the Idle No More movement.

Organized by Melissa Peter-Paul and Samantha Lewis, the rally also marked Global Day of Action that is focusing world-wide protest on global warming, climate change and action to protect the environment.

Lewis said the day also marks the one-month anniversary of the start of Chief Theresa Spence's hunger strike, now joined by Elder Raymond Robinson.

Guest speakers in Charlottetown included Chief Darlene Bernard of Lennox Island First Nation and Abegweit First Nation Chief Brian Francis.

Also speaking at the event was Leo Broderick for the Council of Canadians, Mary Boyd, Leo Cheverie for union workers in support of the protest and Charlottetown MP Sean Casey.

John Joe Sark was master of ceremonies.

All speeches were punctuated with loud drumming beats in support of key points. Some women dressed for what organizers call a jingle-dress dance, some holding up feathers in their hands, others raised clenched fists.

With the pounding throb of native drumming and traditional singing filling the mall, the event ended with a huge circle dance around the atrium by the Winners store.

Organizations: Abegweit First Nation

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Recent comments

    January 13, 2013 - 11:13

    DONNA, Chief Spences's salary was announced on tv along with all the other funds she gets. That is when she stopped letting the press interview her.

  • BigFrog
    January 12, 2013 - 15:44

    Where's the money Teresa? Take, take and take. How about being a Canadian taxpayer and being part of the Canadian family instead of foreigners in your country.

  • Weldermg
    January 12, 2013 - 12:12

    How about all of us Irish, Scottish desendents in canada go to Europe and lay claim to our lands that were taken away and run out off. I think it's time to bury these "treaty's" that are 300 years old and worthless in my eyes. All men are created equal.the natives have more opportunity to excel than the youth of today, if they wanna apply themselves

  • Twiggy
    January 12, 2013 - 10:52

    In Canada we have a problem of communications that is different than many other large Western countries. Canadian racists do not know that they are racists. Many genuinely believe they are progressive and egalitarian while advancing fundamentally racist arguments and points of view. They are quite indignant if you accuse them of racism. This is different than the US, UK, France and other Western industrialized countries. In the US the language of racism is more common and up front. In Europe racism takes open political forms. In Canada we tend to aggressively protect our own interests while wishing to be seen as nice or good or even special. Here in this country we have some kind of sterilized, antiseptic, suburban rightness that gives us a pass if we have not bothered in our lives to learn about the historical circumstances that differentiated life for non-whites from life for whites over the last few centuries in North America. If one had not read about or discussed openly with others major areas of history such as slavery, aboriginal genocide or preferential immigration policies then you really do not know what you are talking about when you delve into detail into modern matters relating to race. At the same time the average white Canadian has probably not said or done anything nasty to a person of a different racial background. And they think of themselves as good people. So, unwititngly, many Canadians, including those who vote Liberal or even Conservative in some bizarre cases, can step right up, make racist statements and be very upset if someone accues them of racism. So Harper can roll back the impact of this protest by exposing the financial screw ups on the reserve of the hunger striker, Ms. Spence. And, people can be Liberal admiring youngish type people of supposedly progressive political perigree like Robert Ghiz and Justin Trudeau, thinking it puts them on the progessive side of the political ledger. It all looks better if you genuinely become informed. And with that knowledge you will probaly become humanitarian and join social democratic causes, support third parties, and generally live with a better conscience in relation to other human beings. Being ignorant and very right is a recipe for unhappiness, if not for you then for many, many others.

  • understand the omnibus bill first, then judge
    January 12, 2013 - 10:13

    Drum drama and Native corruption stories aside, it's impossible to think that any Canadian that really knows C-45 isn't horrified by both the substantive content and the process that enabled it's passage. By design, C-45 serves the titans of industry, but to suggest those forces will then trickle down lasting benefits to the rest of us is pure insanity. The Idle No More Movement may come across to the somnolent and confused middle class as driven by self-interested crazies. However, compared to some of the business suit crazies in Ottawa, they look very sane to me.

  • vick
    January 12, 2013 - 08:28

    Racism????? Why is it that whenever a " tax" payer speaks out that they dont agree on something a group/culture/individual is doing with our tax money he/she is racist? Couldnt be more racist blaming a society 100's yrs later for a war you lost, thats how war works? You may have owned the land you slept on you didn't own all of canada! You speak of environment, fishery, forestry, there would be no such thing if it wasnt for "tax payer" sustaining these payers own "Canada" , pay taxes the same as the rest of us and you will have the same resources as the rest of us! Sign an agreement that "tax" payer money that goes your way can and willbe audited monthly by "tax" payer to be sure its being spent in the area's it was intended for! Prove to the "tax" payer that their money is going to the people in need......."tax" payer have many issues the same as your people, we pay taxes from our hard earned dollars to provide programs and help for these people, we also pay "tax" to lock up those that break our laws! You will get my support when you allow the "tax" man to audit the "tax" man dollars, so that someday "native" people can get off the "tax" dollars and be "canadian" the same as the Irish, french, scotch, chinese, east indians, aussies, japanese, russians, germans, iranians, etc.................we are all one with lots of history as well, and generations destroyed by one culture or another but we dont demand special handouts we unite and become one that "ALL" play and live by the same set of laws!

    January 12, 2013 - 08:05

    My mother is Mikmaq and I am very proud . What I am not proud of is the way Chief Spence is conducting herself. Her band of approximately 1500 people has received over 400 million dollars in the last five years and she herself is getting over 280 thousand a year tax free in salary and the band has over 9 million in stocks yet the people she supposedly looks after are living in squalor . If she is half the person she pretends to be then take some of that 9 million and build proper housing for her people. Stop playing the part and do something constructive beside get on TV and call everyone liars. You demanded a meetingwith the PM yet would not attend, you demanded the Governor General yet would not attend. What do you want Chief Spence beside the envelopes of cash that have been given to you? I am not writing this to complain about the movement which I totally agree with, but about one individual who wants everything but refuses to do anything.

    • Donna
      January 12, 2013 - 20:36

      To "Not Right" I would love to know where you got your numbers, especially in regard to Spences's salary???

      January 14, 2013 - 12:02

      Donna...Try reading some of the actual reports before you post your comments. The $280,000.salary is correct, the $400 Million isn't. It was $106 Million in almost seven years.It's all there n the independant auditors report. Why do you think she stopped talking to the media? Read the report, I guarntee you will be totally shocked.

    January 12, 2013 - 07:36

    I liked the end of the video where the chief was going to speak and they stopped filming-great reporting there guardian. I'm sorry but I'm not buying into this-I want to see how every chief in Canada disburses the money they are given. If they can show me their books are in order then maybe I will see their side-they all protest but havent said directly what it is they are protesting against or for-and no-I am not a racist

  • One Proud Mikmaq
    January 12, 2013 - 07:11

    Sad to see/read that there are so many uneducated Canadians...but you know what...we don't care how many times we read or hear racism...we are proud of who we are...where we come...idle no more....proud supporter of Chief Spence...idle no more!!!!!

  • cromwell
    January 12, 2013 - 06:39

    I immediately lose interest when purported supporters of these often illegal activities use the old chestnut 'racism' to denounce those who don't agree with their position. It certainly confirms that that are otherwise incapable of providing any other form of coherent, intelligent argument to support their position. I have visited a number of indigenous communities in Canada, US, and Third-World countries, and can state, without prevarication, that only in Canada do the local band members live in self-imposed squalor. It is to be noted that in most of the communities outside of Canada and the US, there is no government support provided. However, they use a sense of personal pride as their motivation. It is also ironic that Theresa Spence is being used as a paragon of virtue by these protesters, given that her financial mismanagement of Attawapiskat is making many of the much-maligned bankers appears positively saintly.

  • Idle Away
    January 12, 2013 - 05:56

    Although you may have a great cause, Global Day of Action that is focusing world-wide protest on global warming, climate change and action to protect the environment, sadly you also chose to back a cause like Idle No More which is been spearheaded by a Chief who has millions of unaccounted for Federal and band monies. Spent $400,000 on a zamboni instead of housing and the welfare of the community. Encouraged the distruption of business (blocking of VIA and now protesting in a mall). I was very interested in the Idle No More until I actually researched it and those connected to it. I might not like Harper, but I dislike the corruption from this Chief and the group associated with her even more so.

  • Being United
    January 11, 2013 - 23:01

    I'm saddened that you do not realize we stand United as First Nation from lennox Island AND Abegweit not just for our people and children but for all of you as well. When I read the degrading comments, It doesn't make me mad, I only pity you as you don't know as a jingle dress dancer myself, I prayed for Chief Spence but for you as well. YOU are my brother and my sister. I stand in protest for you and your child and your grandchildren and many generations to come. I prayed for you as I danced. Harper does not care about you or the environment, your tax dollars pay his salary! Understand and take one thing with you from this comment, we did NOT sell our future, this is why we have treaty's in place, we never surrendered and we will not stop fighting for our rights as first nations! Even if you do not stand united with us First Nation's...I will continue to fight for your future... These treaties were sign and validated with the crown before there was ever a thing called a Canadian Government.

  • Bernie
    January 11, 2013 - 22:49

    Any schools that I have been teaching in---O Canada is played after the morning announcements.I am very proud to sing along with the music.

  • brandy
    January 11, 2013 - 22:37

    Wherew to start it was a rally held at 6 pm when the work day was over. And IDle no more if you were in tune to what actually was happening before you went on your racist rants is about LAND, NATURAL RESOURCES, FISHERIES and FORESTRY which effects all Canadians. Before you begin your racist slander get the facts straight. Also as an Mikmaq mother of a family of 4 I get no money for being so I work hard every day for everything I have and pay taxes. So I am a tax payer too.

  • you wish
    January 11, 2013 - 22:34

    do you really think haroer cares how you want your tax money spent DON. just like gizz they are going to do what they want not the taxpayer wants.

  • Mikmaq Proud
    January 11, 2013 - 21:58

    Dear Curbed and Reeler, Hope you have had a wonderful day, The gathering was six o'clock this evening. I agree I would like to see more accountability from all sides. Read up on the facts of Bill C-45, CBC TV have great facts on how this omnibus bills affect all Canadians not just First Nations people. As for being idle, I work two jobs and pay taxes so please don't assume, it shows lack of knowledge. The people have a wonderful saying, Walk a mile in my shoes and know the history of this country before making negative comments, please. Best to the both of you, have a great day!

  • LA
    January 11, 2013 - 21:48

    That's a perfectly reasonable way to protest; good for them. Blockading traffic and trade is not, so I hope they don't go that route, pardon the pun. As for Don, as usual you are completely off the rails in your decidedly unintellectual rant. Try some adult balance and maturity when you discuss it.

    January 11, 2013 - 20:39

    Anyone else find it ironic that all these people were available for a protest on a Friday afternoon??

  • don
    January 11, 2013 - 20:17

    in the news they are saying they are going to set up blockades thru out Canada. so not only are they blackmailing the government they are blackmailing all of CANADA. and they want help this is a poor way of doing it.maybe the tax payers should NOT allow the government to pay them any more money till all the money they say is missing is found. then let them live with out welfare,no money from CANADA.

    • REELER
      January 11, 2013 - 20:44

      Partly agree. I think most people want some kind of accountability of how all this money is being spent, seeing that we taxpayers are subsidizing their "idle" way of life. Teresa Spence has caused considerable harm to the public perception of Aboriginals with this foolish charade.

    • Dont you understand?
      January 11, 2013 - 22:13

      Try being forced onto land that provides very little sustenance, then isolated. -treaties that are one sided, take away rights and favour European settlements -force fed European views and attitudes to try and erase the culture -children removed from their families in the name of a christian god -governments ignoring treaties because it doesn't fit into their economic plans I'm a university student at UPEI and I have been studying for a long time what happens in society when people lable others and make a certain social view about certain groups, this is a form of that where us euro americans always veiw it as they have to change, they have all these stereotypes they are in the wrong, but we never stop for one second to think that, maybe if we stopped labeling the first nations with all these racial stereotypes, maybe if we actually learned what happens in their lives and how they are forced to live, maybe if we stop worrying about our tax money that is going to a lot far worse things than native americans, maybe than both parties of this will be able to see as one and together. Just a thought. Also this protest is not just for freedome in the first nations but also for freedome of all Canadian as to what Harper has done: omnibus bills, decimation of environmental oversight, silencing of scientists, financial scandals, voting scandals, and complete indifference to any other party's point of view or recommendations in parliament and more, so stop hiding behind these racial norms when things can change for the good and everyone can actually stand up for every canadians freedom for a change.

  • proud
    January 11, 2013 - 19:50

    That was pretty inspiring Native or not. Sorta makes ya feel like these are true Canadians and we are all watching a tutorial on how to be one. Sadly ya have to kick and scream and not stop to get what you want and nationally to see it unfold is great. Hope it unites others and transforms Canada. Not that its really related can anyone answer why O Canada is no longer played in schools before the start of each day?

    • DONNA
      January 11, 2013 - 22:03

      Curbed, Don and Reeler, You have just confirmed for me that RACISM is live and thriving on PEI. Sad to have to call you my neighbours.