Waterloo Region Record

Idle No More movement comes Saturday to Guelph

Event aims to raise awareness about First Nations’ issues

- Kate McKenna

GUELPH — The Idle No More movement will have its Guelph debut this weekend.

An event being billed as a “Rally and Conversati­on” will start at 10 Carden St. at 2:30 p.m. Saturday before moving to the streets.

Local musician James Gordon is one of the organizers and will be speaking at the rally. He will also perform a song written in honour of the movement.

The Idle No More movement has gained momentum throughout the country in recent weeks, and has even spread to other countries. The movement is aimed at protesting the federal government’s Bill C-45, which First Nations groups claim threaten their constituti­onal treaty rights.

Gordon said he was inspired to join the movement by First Nations leaders, such as Attawapisk­at Chief Theresa Spence, who he says are leading a grass- roots, peaceful movement while at the same time representi­ng all Canadians.

Spence has been on a hunger strike for the past month, refusing to eat until she sits down with Prime Minister Stephen Harper. A meeting has been set for Jan. 11, but the movement shows no signs of slowing down.

“All that she’s asking for is to sit down and talk and we’re using that model,” he said.

Gordon say this weekend’s event follows the same community-based format that other Idle No More demonstrat­ions have been based on, and said it’s about support and solidarity.

Gordon got involved with Idle No More because of his own First Nations ancestry, but he says it’s about more than just First Nations rights.

“It’s important for people to step back and realize it’s about all of us,” he said, adding that “there are so many things hidden” in Bill C-45, which Idle No More is “shining a light on.”

Gordon said the bill looks to break treaty agreements, but will also affect the whole country’s landscape if it is passed. He said events such as this are about generating awareness.

Guelph pastor Marty Molengraaf said the bill will open up possibilit­ies for pipeline projects that won’t have to go through environmen­tal checks. Molengraaf, who has been involved with aboriginal issues in the past, said he will be at the event and is delighted that the movement is coming to Guelph.

A posting on the Idle No More website says, “Idle No More activities will not stop until we reach our two goals: indigenous sovereignt­y (nation-to-nation relationsh­ip) and protection of the land and water (social and environmen­tal sustainabi­lity). Once we reach these goals, we will continue to work to protect them. In essence, Idle No More is here to stay.”

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