Discussing Idle No More







Discussing Idle No MoreImage


Recently I sat down with MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky to discuss Idle  No More in a face to face conversation. I tried to answer the questions as concisely as possible. Some of the phrasing is exactly what I understand while some of it is a little bit unclear. Either way…the dialogue continues….


These themes were derived over several meetings between November 2012 and January 2013. This is a living document that can and will be changed and developed as the Manitoba movement grows. Approximately 40 individuals from across the province participated in the creation of these themes and they were summarized by organizer Jerry Daniels.

1. Spiritual Wisdom & Guidance

  • Listen to our elders
  • Include spirit in processes/future legislation
  • Remember the next seven generations when considering impact of choices/actions

2. Environmental Sustainability

  • Protect our waters and our lands
  • We are having a water crisis and promote responsible resource development
  • It is our role as Indigenous people to be stewards and keepers of the land

3. Federal Legislation & Agreements

  • We must understand the Indian Act and how it affects us today (on and off reserve)
  • We must be well versed in the treaties and agreements that apply to the land where we live/are from
  • We must also be familiar with international legislation such as the UNDRIP
  • Treaties and legislation are in hard to understand/outdated language

4. History of European/Indigenous Relations

  • Understand that we had our own systems of justice, education, healthcare prior to contact with Europeans
  • The generosity of FN people was integral to the survival and establishment of the colony of Canada
  • Education was a key agreement in most (if not all) treaties between Canada and the First Nations – however Indian residential schools and current underfunding of schools do not live up to the treaties expectations

5. Indigenous Governance

  • We have to understand what we mean when we say nation to nation
  • Is our reserve a nation, or is our nation something larger, bigger
  • How do we work together to recognize what modern nations look like, legally and literally?
  • We must understand economics and demographics in our communities

6. Effective and Efficient Advocacy  

  • We must organize quickly
  • We have to listen to one another and create space for disagreement and discussion
  • We have to develop outcomes and share them with others so we can work towards our common goals
  • We must operate from a strength based approach and focus on solutions
  • We will help one another, share our skills and learn from each other



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