Tue Feb 26, 2013, 10:28 AM
polly7 (10,687 posts)
This is the Way of the Ancestors: Idle No More and Indigenous Resistance
By Eric Ritskes
Source: New Left Project
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
It’s important because it is settler colonialism that is at the heart of the problems that Idle No More has risen to address. Settler colonialism relies on occupation and home-making of settlers on Indigenous land and a perceived legitimacy of the settler to the land that is settled. For settler colonialism to legitimate itself, Indigenous peoples must be removed. This removal can be ideological, as seen in how colonial doctrine emptied the ‘New World’, deeming Indigenous peoples as sub-human and Indigenous land, subsequently, virgin, uninhabited, and available for the taking. The removal can be physically; estimates of Indigenous populations on Turtle Island (America) range as high as fifty million people which, in short time, was reduced to the hundreds of thousands. This removal can also be cultural; residential schooling in Canada and the United States was based on an ideology of “Kill the Indian, Save the Man,” an ideology that sought to decimate Indigenous cultures, languages, and ways of life, which were deemed barbaric and savage.
Settler colonialism demands Indigenous erasure for the purpose of claiming Indigenous land, it is the symbolic and real replacement of Indigenous peoples with settlers who attempt to claim belonging. Indigeneity cannot simply be about ‘who was here first’ - as if we are all Indigenous to some place – or about merely long-term occupancy. Indigeneity stands in marked opposition to the imperial agenda. Indigeneity is contentious, disruptive and insurgent. But it is also healing and loving, working to restore and resurge right relationships within communities, between communities, with the land, and with the self. This is the way of the ancestors.
What is Idle No More about?
As Idle No More erupted across Canada and North America, beginning in December, many in the media were quick to point out similarities to the recent Occupy movement, particularly similarities in how media and mainstream pundits were unclear about the ‘demands’ of the movement and what it is they hoped to accomplish. What is Idle No More about? While the proverbial ‘straw that broke the camel’s back’ was the Canadian government’s strong arm tactics in pushing through Bill C-45, an omnibus bill that threatened to decimate protection of both land and waterways that Indigenous communities depend on, as well as decimate some of the last collective rights Indigenous communities had enshrined in Canadian law, there are much more complex and inherent problems that undergird the Idle No More movement.
I can’t speak to all of diverse demands within Idle No More; I’m not sure any one person can. It’s about protesting the ongoing ecological destruction of land and waterways, particularly through the Canadian government’s ongoing insistence on building oil pipelines to transport oil from Alberta’s tar sands, deemed some of the world’s ‘dirtiest oil’. It’s about the failure of Canadians to honor and uphold the original treaties that were signed with the sovereign Indigenous nations within what are now their borders. It’s about the ongoing violence and destruction of Indigenous peoples, livelihoods, nations, languages and cultures - the violence that allows thousands of Indigenous women to be murdered and missing without so much as a ripple in the peaceful façade of Canadian multiculturalism. It’s about resisting against the ongoing settler colonialism, which seeks to erase Indigenous peoples in any way possible. It’s about a long history of oppression, a long history of violence, and a long history of marginalizing, making invisible, and physically erasing Indigenous peoples. It’s about all of these things and more.
Full Article: http://www.zcommunications.org/this-is-the-way-of-the-ancestors-idle-no-more-and-indigenous-resistance-by-eric-ritskes
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