The newest of media meet the oldest of traditions as indigenous protests sweep Canada and the web.
The Idle No More movement, which began just weeks ago in response to the Canadian omnibus budget bill C-45, widened quickly to encompass long-running concerns around indigenous sovereignty, land, and environmental degradation. The uprising was originally sparked by four First Nations women who began running teach-ins about C-45, a bill that would weaken environmental laws and make the leasing of indigenous lands easier. It went country-wide with the National Day of Solidarity & Resurgence on December 10th. Today much more is at stake than the fate of one bill, as the protests become a focal point for First Nations demands for sovereignty, environmental protection, and the upholding of treaties.
The movement is taking full advantage of social media and web-based outreach. They have called upon supporters to spread the word via twitter, facebook, youtube, posters, videos, and poems. The organization’s hashtag, #IdleNoMore, is showing up in tweets from across the world. They have put out some striking visuals, and their efforts have inspired poster artists to share their work in solidarity (below from Dwayne Bird, Gillian Goerz, and Aaron Paquette)
In combining the newest online media and communications techniques with traditional symbols and ceremonies, Idle No More is treading ground first successfully walked by the Zapatistas in their 1994 uprising. People can try to write off the growing attention to #IdleNoMore as another twitterverse fad. But as the cultural work of the movement makes clear, this rebellion did not appear overnight with the latest Bieber gossip. This is only the most recent face of a centuries-long resistance movement that has never been idle for long.
To learn more, and to find out how to get involved, check out the Idle No More website, and the recent Native Appropriations interviews with movement participants.