In light of today’s Idle No More Global Day of Action, I thought I’d list publicly my reasons for standing in solidarity with this movement. My hope is that all non-Aboriginal Canadians will see some of themselves reflected in what I’ve written, and be encouraged to support this movement in their own way. So, in no particular order, here’s why I support Idle No More:
- I am Canadian. This means that I am a citizen of a settler colony and, therefore, am responsible to its legacy of injustice and oppression. Part of this responsibility is to ensure that the government that is (supposedly) responsible to me honours and upholds our treaty rights with Canada’s Aboriginal peoples.
- I am the child of Caribbean immigrants to Canada. This means that my presence here is – partially – the result of the colonial legacy in the Caribbean: the high poverty, high unemployment, and reduced opportunities meant that my parents chose to leave their home for a chance at a better life elsewhere.
- I have indigenous Caribbean ancestry. I have both Arawak and Carib Indian ancestors on both sides of my family, but I can’t say much more about it than that. I don’t know their names, their languages, their traditions, their cultures, because they met the same colonial fate as indigenous people elsewhere: exploitation, assimilation, genocide.
- I have indigenous African ancestry. Again, I can’t say much more about it than that.
- Aboriginal people are the youngest and fastest-growing group in Canada. Therefore, I want to make damned sure that they are given the same opportunities for economic, political, social and cultural success that (nearly) every other Canadian gets.
- We have colonialist leaders who want entrenched economic inequality, environmental degradation, and violence at home and abroad to continue for their own, short-term personal gain. And we have Aboriginal leaders whose approach to economic prosperity, environmental protection, and global safety and security is based on respect for the seven generations who came before us, and the seven generations that will come after us. So, if I want to increase the chances of a long, prosperous and healthy life for me, my family, my whole community, it’s a no-brainer as to who I’ll stand behind.
Support Idle No More.
What have you got to lose?