Photo by Deanna Rae

On December 10, 2012 thousands of Indigenous Canadians gathered to peacefully protest an ideology that would see rivers and lakes unprotected – ripe for industrial pollution, and measures that would threaten their sovereignty on their own lands.

At issue is the breaking of spiritual and legally binding promises by the Government of Canada. At issue is the continuing colonization of the original peoples of this land.

The movement is called #IdleNoMore and the issue is Bill-C45, an ominibus bill that tosses in everything but the kitchen sink, all attached to the budget. It’s designed this way in order to slip as many egregious changes to legislation as possible under the radar. If you catch one, there will be ten more that won’t get as much attention.

It doesn’t just affect those who have been dominated by the Indian Act. It affects all Canadians, and especially our children.

And that’s why all Canadians need to learn what is happening and need to stand up with their Indigenous sisters and brothers. Cousins, we are all in this together.

If you don’t care about leaving a clean place for your children then you might as well stop reading now. Because this is about dealing with things today, so that those yet unborn can have their tomorrows.

I am an artist. I deal in pattern recognition. And anyone else who sees patterns knows what I’m talking about.

This government is attempting to systematically sell off our resources and make even more resources available for exploitation. It’s a short term game plan and one that this current government doesn’t even hope to survive. But by the time the next election rolls around it will be too late to stop all the destruction. Sure, the Conservatives will be voted out (unless Canadians go back to sleep again), but their friends will already be enriched, their ideology will have been advanced and they will likely have future seats on corporate boards and their MP pensions.

Don’t worry about them, they’ll be all right.

And they will leave the rest of you holding the environmental and economic bag, much like the Republicans did to Americans, who are still digging their way out of the mess that was left behind.

This is much greater than angry protesting natives, this is about becoming aware of the world in which you live.

First they gutted the sciences, long term studies that would help us understand our ecosystem better so we could develop more responsibly, and no one said a word.

Then they cut funding for our shared history and those who work to preserve it, while at the same time dumping tens of millions of dollars into celebrating a British colony war that happened before we were even a country, and still no one said anything.

Then the world was made aware of the shameful conditions for small children growing up on underfunded, polluted Reservations. A small murmur and then nothing.

And now, because of the apathy they see, this government has taken galling steps to sell out our wilderness, our resources and sovereignty. And not even to the highest bidder. It’s a yard sale with no regard for responsibility or care for anyone who might be negatively affected (in other words, all of us).

From millions of protected waterways a couple weeks ago, we now have hundreds. Yes, you read that right.

So why are Canada’s Indigenous Peoples the only ones who are standing up? Why are they now the World’s Protectors?

I urge you stand with them, no matter where in the world you are from. I urge you to become aware. 

And I urge you to set an example for your children.

Show them that we are not sheep to be fleeced, but giants who have slumbered.

Show them that they can have a better life because of you, not a worse one because of apathy.

Show them that the only way to make the fundamental changes this world so sorely needs is in looking out for each other instead of hunkering down in isolation.

We know the way the world works. We know everyone is grasping for their piece of the crumbling pie. 

Don’t your children deserve a better fate? Don’t you deserve a better one, too?

The old model is tearing this planet apart and the planet is responding.

There is still time to change.

There is still time to stand.

There is still time to walk into a better tomorrow than our path today would suggest.

Join us. Walk with us. 

Share our simple joys.

And together we can be the first population in the world to peacefully and radically change the course our government has set.

It’s not about politics, it’s about people.

It’s not about anger, it’s about finding sanity right now.

It’s not about revolution, it’s about the evolution of our society.

We’re ready.

Are you ready?

Because now is the time.

Hiy hiy