Idle No More gains momentum in MinnesotaA Native round dance in support of Idle No More and Chief Teresa Spence took place at Miller Hill Mall on Saturday, Dec. 22.
By: Naomi Yaeger , Lake County News Chronicle
A Native round dance in support of Idle No More and Chief Teresa Spence took place at Miller Hill Mall on Saturday, Dec. 22.
Idle No More is a solidarity movement originating in Canada, out of frustration among many First Nations people over environmental policy, poverty, and treaty rights there. Spence, chief of the Attawapiskat nation in Ontario, is on a hunger strike in Ottawa to call attention to these issues.
“Shoppers stopped and smiled,” said Reyna Crow, one of the organizers. An estimated 175 people showed up in support of the event. “Another dance took place outside of Bentleyville, in the free-speech zone, later in the day,” said Crow. “There was a rally in Bali last night [Dec. 25]; people all over the world are following this.”
According to a report from Minnesota Public Radio, more than 100 people gathered, drummed and danced in solidarity at the Paul Bunyan Mall in Bemidji, Dec. 26. Days later a small group left northern Minnesota for the U.S. capital.
“On Dec. 28, Mishkomekinaak Ikwe of Red Cliff, Wisc., Irene Wade Benjamin and Ahnung Matrious of the Mille Lacs (Minn.) Band of Ojibwe, began a journey from International Falls… to Washington D.C., to call on President Obama in support of Chief Theresa Spence,” said the groups press release.
Carrying a carved cedar box as a gift, the women say they “hope to meet with President Obama and urge him to call on Prime Minister Stephen Harper.”
“The world is standing up in support and solidarity with Canadians and Canadian Aboriginals. They need all the help and support they can get before time runs out for Chief Spence. All Chief Spence is asking for is a meeting. If Prime Minister Stephen Harper is not noticing the world backing this woman up, then perhaps he might listen if other world leaders step up! Time is of the essence. We must get the White House to take notice and step up for Human Rights!” wrote Ikwe,