Indigenous issues still a concern

Times-Herald Editorial Staff
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Isabelle Hanson, president of the Wakamow Aboriginal Communities Association and organizer of the Moose Jaw Idle No More rallies, speaks to a crowd of participants outside Moose Jaw's city hall.

Recent analysis suggests the Idle No More movement is losing traction online.

“The movement posted a drop in online activity for the fourth week in a row, posting a weekly total just higher than the average daily total from just a few weeks ago,” said Mark Blevis, who has been tracking the movement online from its infancy.

“#IdleNoMore online chatter has fallen 84 per cent in four weeks, suggesting public interest and internal energy are currently shadows of their former selves,” he wrote in a post on his website.

The gradual decline in activity is not surprising; almost every movement, at some point or another, falls off. But the outcome is no doubt disappointing for those who believed, participated, and in many ways continue to push for change.

Idle No More began in November with a teach-in in Saskatoon hosted by activists Jessica Gordon, Sylvia McAdam, Sheelah Mclean, and Nina Wilson. The teach-in sought to inform people about the impact the Harper administration’s Bill C-45 would have on environmental protection laws and First Nations sovereignty.

The movement picked up further traction nationally when Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence launched a hunger strike, demanding a meeting to discuss indigenous rights between Harper and Governor General David Johnston and the many leaders of Canada’s First Nations.

In a few short months, the movement spread -- first nationally, and then internationally -- picking up support in cities across the country and in other nations.

In Moose Jaw alone, there have been a pair of well-attended rallies, one of which included a teach-in to inform the general public about the issues being addressed by Idle No More.

While Idle No More may have achieved the raising of public awareness about aboriginal issues and Bill C-45, it seems to be failing to convert that awareness into meaningful action.

Like the Occupy movement before it, Idle No More has lost a great deal of momentum in a very short period of time, and it will need to recapture that interest before anything real can be achieved.

With good fortune, the movement can change its stars. And it is absolutely important that it does, because there are real issues with the First Nations that sorely need to be addressed.

Tossing those concerns out with the wash would be a mistake.

All editorials are written by the Times-Herald editorial staff.

Organizations: First Nations, Times-Herald

Geographic location: Saskatoon, Canada, Moose Jaw

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