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Idle No More: How an Indigenous Protest Movement Erupted in Canada and Spread to the World

Idle No More has organized the largest mass mobilizations of indigenous people in recent history. What sparked it off and what’s coming next?

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Visit almost any reserve in Canada, and you’re likely to see third world social indicators in a first world country: high incarceration rates, inadequate housing and sanitation, reduced life expectancy—due in part to abnormally frequent suicides—lack of employment and education opportunities, and substance abuse. This, after more than a century of colonization by a government that  refuses to acknowledge its identity as a colonial power. Meanwhile, native youth are the fastest-growing segment of Canada’s population, according to  Aboriginal Affairs. Is it any surprise that they’re taking on repressive legislation and using social media to organize?

For Canadians—and potentially all North Americans—this is a moment of reckoning. Just as Chief Spence’s hunger strike forced the issue with Harper, Idle No More forces us all to confront the ugliness of our collective colonial history, and to recognize that colonization continues today.

It holds up a mirror to our society, questioning the historical narrative we’re all taught to believe. It asks: On what values was our country founded? And, because identity is created out of that narrative: Who are we, really? And who do we want to be?


Kristin Moe wrote this article for  YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media organization that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. Kristin writes about climate, grassroots movements and social change.

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Kristin Moe is a writer for YES! Magazine, a national, nonprofit media project that fuses powerful ideas and practical actions. Kristin writes about climate, grassroots movements and social change. Follow her on Twitter: @yo_Kmoe

 
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