Idle No More: About Those Indians


Thank you to Aboriginal Press News and Aboriginal Press
for republishing this blog article in their respective
online editions of January 6, 2013.

Thank you to The Journey and Green Press
as well as Hope= Change for re-posting this
blog article on their respective blog sites.

Thank you as well to and
Vancouver Island’s CHEK News
on the West Cost for linking to this article.


This morning, I was shocked to see some of my Facebook friends posting racist comments about the Idle No More movement.   Yes, shocked, as in “a severe offense to one’s sense of propriety or decency; an outrage.”

What in the world could anyone have said that would evoke such an emotion?

The comment was that “those Indians need to shut up.”

My friend Solomon Cyr, Executive Assistant to Chief and Council at George Gordon First Nation, was told the other night that First Nations peoples and their supporters should all be put in jail for protesting and being part of such things as the Highway #1 Peaceful Slow Down Barricade happening today in Regina, Saskatchewan.  Oddly enough, the organizers involved the local RCMP as well as the Ministry of Highways to ensure that the demonstration is successful and within the confines of the law.  That’s certainly law-abiding and not worthy of incarceration.

So many have the mistaken belief that the ONLY thing that matters with the Idle No More movement are First Nation rights, and that Indigenous peoples are just whining and carrying on for no good reason.  The Idle No More movement is so much more than just First Nations rights, but it certainly begins with First Nation rights, and there are most certainly a number of good reasons as to why people around the world should involve themselves in this movement.

The Idle No More movement has two goals: Indigenous sovereignty (Nation to Nation relationship) and protection of the land and water (Social and Environmental Sustainability).

Canadians and First Nations people had no say in the changes the government made to the  Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and scrapping the Navigable Waters Protection Act.  The changes saw the elimination of the navigation protections for 90 cent of the waterways in Canada.  As of December 5, 2012 only 62 creek and rivers, and 97 lakes are protected (plus 3 oceans) instead of the 2.5 million protected rivers and lakes (and 3 oceans) it had the day before on December 4, 2012.

Interestingly enough, media reports have identified 87 of the still-protected 97 lakes as being within, or next to, ridings won by Conservatives in 2011. One of those still-protected lakes is Lake Rosseau, where Hollywood celebrities such as Tom Hanks and Goldie Hawn, business moguls and NHL stars such as former Detroit Red Wing Steve Yzerman, have cottages.  But as of today, I haven’t heard any of those people speak up in support of the Idle No More movement.

And to which  media reports am I referring?  For one, the Ottawa Citizen who published they had used ArcGIS  mapping software to determine which federal electoral districts the shorelines of each lake named in the budget bill overlapped.  The data was then combined with election results from 2011 to calculate breakdowns by MPs’ parties.

In other words, the Idle No More movement is important to so many more than just the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

Yes, my friends, the movement is also about the protections that have been removed on the environment. It’s about the relaxation of regulations that will now allow other countries to develop, purchase, and mine our resources, and to leave Canadian taxpayers with the cost of cleaning up after those countries when they pull up stakes and go back to their own countries.

A number of those mines are going to be run by companies from China operating under China’s pollution and environmental rules, not Canada’s pollution and environmental rules (which are far more strict).

The Idle No More movement is about everything that matters in this world and for that reason, it’s important to Canadians and people around the world to stand WITH the Idle No More movement and make their voices heard.

Elyse Bruce

UPDATE:  Additional information on 30 of the 47 longest rivers removed from the Navigable Waters Protection List available by clicking on this LINK.


Special Note to Readers and Visitors:  Be sure to read — and share on your social media — the next installment in this series of blog articles entitled, “Idle No More: I’ve Been Suspended.”  Thanks for all your support and comments!



United Nations Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada Fact Sheet

Canadian Environmental Assessment Act

Navigable Waters Protection Act

Idle No More_About Those Indians_January 2013


59 Responses to “Idle No More: About Those Indians”

  1. Donna Fitzpatrick Says:

    These people wont stop until they have taken and utterly destroyed every remote corner of this earth. Where I was born in Columbia,Tennessee,was a beautiful place to live. Going back after twenty years was a disappointment since Sterling Marlin had bought all the land and paved all our old dirt roads. Progress?

    • Mi'gmewei E'pit Says:

      yes, thank you for this blog. we really need to hear good words, from good Spirits, good people. I was on one of the INM sites and that site is crawling with what i just learned are “trolls” people who intentionally cause havoc. There was a woman who said our Ancestors were “animal” before the europeans came; and there were others who were defending her and saying that’s not what she meant. They work in teams, say outlandish things and then back track, make excuses for what they said, accuse you of “causing trouble”, etc. It’s scary on those sites…they won’t attack anyone who is just talking about “love, peace, we’re all one”, they attack people who have an education and write in a way that is intelligent, coherent, and makes sense. Yes, this is a movement for anyone who believes in protecting our Earth for each other and the future! Regards.

      • Thomas D. Taylor Says:

        Don’t listen to people like the ones you describe. This comes from a white person: Your ancestors were not “animal.” Just one example: Before the white settlers came and colonization began, your ancestors had mastered the health and care of the environment.

        Look at who manages the environment today and the state of it. Look who is about to make the environment worse with bill C-45. It’s criminal.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Thanks for your comment, Donna. Unfortunately, some people mistakenly use the word “progress” when they should use the word “profit” since profit is all about money and progress is about making the world a better place than the state in which it was found.

  2. Idle No More: About Those Indians « Elyse Bruce « kylewithako66 Says:

    […] Idle No More: About Those Indians « Elyse Bruce. […]

    • Nakaii Koyoda Says:

      Long time ago, somewhere in a mountain of Canada , in 1971′, there was a meeting held, mostly Elders , And young warriors, we talked about the future and what was expected of US, that’s You and Me , the Indiginest of the America’s , and what should be done, the youth called out, war, distroy, hatered ect…Red Power was there and heard, this will hurt are cause even more, if we immentate there behaviors, Europen bad habits of war, distroy and Hate.No cryed the Elders, ” let the Creative Consence intercede ” in time, which is NOW, the Spitite of Consence will enters Man’s MIND, and as you can SEE, Today we are now under radar, befor 1971, the WORLD had NO idea we EXIST, that Island called Alcadraz was where the RED RACE began it’s birth and with the magic of OUR MINDS, and understanding of our selfs, we have MOther Earth, and all WOMEN of the world understands the meaning of LOVE, and that is our POWER, the CREATIVE POWER has Intervien, not to worry, the WOLF is on his way..The RED RACE must be Reconized as are the Black, Yellow and White races ARE. Blessing….

  3. Lauralee Proudfoot Says:

    The racism I am seeing in so many places right now it indeed shocking – but hopefully, in the long run, it will help many, many more Canadians to understand the issues and join #idlenomore.

    • Mi'gmewei E'pit Says:

      yes, i agree…in a post above, i mention an incident that i had to endure on one of the INM sites. it’s scary, the ugliness of the quiet, hidden racism lurking amoung the everyday person and situation is going to be exposed full force. there are too many people caught up in the materialistic, capitlistic, consumerism that is directly dependent on resource extraction and will see our people as the problem. hopefully, we can get out there and educate, educate, educate, with people who are willing. we are not the problem, we are the solution to the problem!

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      I’ve seen in person and read in newspapers (online and hard copies) all sorts of hateful comments. When I see and read these comments I am reminded of the words of Chief Seattle (1780-1866): “When you know who you are; when your mission is clear and you burn with the inner fire of unbreakable will; no cold can touch your heart; no deluge can dampen your purpose. You know that you are alive.”

  4. Tophatmax Says:

    Do you have a source for, “not Canada’s pollution and environmental rules”? You had my attention until I realized your facts appear to be your “opinions”.

    Do you have any idea how strict our existing regulations are in Canada? This isn’t a law that allows burning down the country. Did you also know that in order to drill a well you have to leave a retainer with the government to insulate against abandoning a project?

    These new laws take away the need for processing redundant paperwork. They streamline the process, they don’t encourage neglect.

    I’m still learning more about these laws and I thank the movement for bringing awareness to them but giving bands the ability to choose for themselves what they do with they’re land, is hardly a bad thing in my eyes.

    Please focus on the actual law, rather than the emotions around it, when delivering information as you appear to be doing. Thank you.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      The framers of the Canadian Constitution, the Constitution Act, 1867, did not mention the environment as a specific area of concern or assign responsibility for it to either the federal or provincial level of government. In recent years, the courts have said that the environment does not comfortably fit within the existing division of federal and provincial powers under the Constitution without considerable overlap and uncertainty.”

      SOURCE: Pollution Watch (prepared for The Canadian Environmental Law Association and Environmental Defence), “A Summary of Canadian and Selected Provincial Regulations and Policy on Toxic Substances”

      The environmental regulations are weaker in places like China, so that makes mining operations easier. You can do more harm to the environment at less cost to the company. You can dump toxins into the land, no one will know the difference. Who cares about the environment, until your child is poisoned from mercury in their fried fish.”

      SOURCE: Kenneth Rapoza, Forbes magazine, “China’s Weak Environmental Laws Won’t Last Forever”

      We see the same thing with the environmental-impact assessment (EIA) system. The law stresses the importance of prevention, but allows a company to go ahead with a project even if it has not carried out an assessment – as long as it promises to do one further down the line. According to our research, across the country, more than 50% of EIAs are dealt with in this way.”

      SOURCE: Wang Jin, China Dialogue, “China’s green laws are useless”

      CEPA requires Environment Canada to keep and publish a National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI). Owners and operators of facilities that manufacture, process or otherwise use one or more of the numerous NPRI-listed substances under certain prescribed conditions are required to report releases or off-site transfers of the substances to Environment Canada.”

      A number of projects are excluded from the scrutiny of the CEAA, for example, most infrastructure projects are excluded. The exemptions are listed in section 7 of the Act and the Exclusion List Regulations.”

      “The NWPA allows for exemptions from the requirement for an approval if the work falls into a class of works or the navigable water falls into a class of navigable waters established by
      Ministerial regulation, which may also include conditions for such works. There are also provisions regarding removal of existing works and approval of works already started. The exemption from the approval requirements under the NWPA means that an environmental assessment for such approval is no longer required.”

      SOURCE: BLAKE CASSELS & GRAYDON LLP, “Blake’s Guide To Environmental Law In Canada”

      The Navigable Waters Protection Act (NWPA) was meant to address, in part, the dumping and/or filling of any navigable water, or any excavation of materials from the bed of any navigable water, that may interfere with navigation. With so many lakes, rivers and creeks now removed from the Act, the protection for those waters is no longer in place.

      There are also a number of Non-Regulatory Initiatives and International Agreements but those initiatives and agreements aren’t necessarily adhered to by any of the listed governments. And while there are priority substances, regulated toxic substances, restricted substances, prohibited substances, etc., there fact still remains that there are exemptions available that do not require approval of some future projects and some existing projects.

      • Tophatmax Says:

        Thank you very much for that but I wasn’t questioning if other countries treated they’re land with respect, I was referring to your implication that foreigners can operate outside our environmental laws while operating ‘within’ our borders.

        The federal and provincial governments aren’t “in charge” of the environment (thank god) but they do have the ERCB (energy resources conservation board) which does, with great scrutiny.

        My point is not to discredit you, I think you make some excellent points here. I believe however, that its not understood by many people, how some of the primary legal changes are already defended/backed up by systems already in place. ‘That’ is the Federal governments fault.

      • Thomas D. Taylor Says:

        I believe Elyse answered your question. If you read some of the content in the links (and if you’ve watched a lot of the stories in the media lately) you will know that there is a lot of objection to the fact that – yes – foreign corporations can exempt themselves from obeying Canadian environmental laws.

        If you scroll back through these posts, you will know that I have written quite a bit about ignorance. I now understand that there is more ignorance going around than I thought.

      • Kes Says:

        I was outraged when I read our waters were no longer protected. I had no idea what the navigable waters act was, until I read someone’s blog about it. Can’t remember which or I’d include the link. It has to do with structures, like building docks and bridges and this change actually removes the requirement to get a federal permit. Of course the swankier types in cottage country would still want to have that regulated.
        In this day and age, with all the media games that politicians play and the relative silence from Harper regarding this confusion (which he could easily clear up with one statement) has me wondering if there is something in these changes that we have yet to uncover or if there’s something else going on that we don’t know about.

      • Elyse Bruce Says:

        Tophatmax, the Navigable Waters Protection Act was amended in part under the previous Bill C-38. The amendment exempted pipelines and power lines (and more) from the provisions of the law. Bill C-45 went further by cutting safety measures provided by the Evironmental Act.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      One of the two main goals of the INM movement is the protection of the land and water (Social and Environmental Sustainability). There are anti-INM people, as well as people speaking on behalf of the Canadian government, who claim that INM is fearmongering with regards to the environment.

      And yet, in an article published in today’s Ottawa Citizen, Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development had this to say about the audit his office conducted with regards to Federal environmental protections and how effectively those protections are being policed.

      “[quote] In the North, Vaughan is especially concerned that officials with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada are not inspecting mining operations to make sure companies are living up to their obligations [end quote].”

  5. Culturite Says:

    Thanks for this post. Join in on #J11: Global Day of Action, Solidarity and Resurgence – January 11, 2013! See you there…

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Thanks for providing information on the Global Day of Action as well as a link to the Facebook page. I encourage readers to educate themselves on this event and to take action.

  6. Barbara Renick Says:

    Who better than Natives of the Western Hemisphere to lead a movement to save Mother Earth? The negativity comes from a place of pittiful ignorance.

  7. Drummerlady Says:

    Hey,spreading the word out !

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Thanks, Drummerlady. The more who know the facts, the easier it will be to effect change and safeguard the environment and have people who have been ignored for far too long heard.

  8. Drummerlady rockon Says:

    Thanks for the blog !

  9. Kelzey Says:

    There are plenty of first nation folks ‘trolling’ sites as well and encouraging radical and very aggressive behaviors at some of the gatherings as well… just saying. But as long as there’s more people who bring their positive energy and carry forward… things will fall into place..
    Heres a video that really explains whats going on in with the politics

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      As in any segment of society, there are those who participate in negative fashion for reasons that are only known to them. No social group is immune from such behaviour.

      And you are correct in stating that “as long as there’s more people who bring their positive energy and carry forward … things will fall into place.” Thank you for sharing your insights here on thsi blog, Kelzey.

  10. mblund Says:

    If there’s one thing that I noticed about the INM movement, is that how it seems to have bought out the most extreme elements on both sides of the issue. My perception about Canadian’s social tolerance towards its Aboriginal peoples has been rather shaken by all the vile and racists comments I’m seeing on message boards all across the web against First Nations people. What bothers me even more is that this negative bias has for the most part spun this movement as “nothing more than a bunch of indians whining to get more money” by these very people amongst their ilk.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      It saddens me when I hear racists and discriminatory remarks being made along with personal attacks against those who dare to share facts with others. It begs the question: What fear does such negativity mask?

    • Barbara Renick Says:

      “Indians whining” makes me laugh because Indians have never whined. Their cultural values kept this Western Hemisphere clean and relatively uncontaminated for centuries. With the new Arrivals, they began to suffer from betrayals even after entering into “honorable” treaties. Brutal and inhumane treatment in govt boarding schools designed to “Kill the Indian save the man” were perpetrated upon them. And they did not live for the love of money. Maybe the two minds will never fully comprehend the other.

  11. Donna M Lerat Says:

    Thank you for explaining this to everybody out there that do not understand the we are the keepers of MOTHER EARTH and it is up to us to take a stand and stay idle no more hiy hiy be proud

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      It’s definitely up to us to “take a stand and stay idle no more.” We need to wake up those who are unaware of the dangers that Bill C-45 poses to all people, not just Indigenous peoples.

  12. Hope = Change « pooks82 Says:

    […] Idle No More: About Those Indians. […]

  13. Rachel McMillen Says:

    As a signed-up member and strong supporter of INM and a white person I too am saddened by the racist comments but I remember that similar slurs were recently thrown at Alexandra Morton who is trying to save the wild salmon on the west coast, and at the protesters at Meares Island who were trying to save the ancient forest. Ignorance and fear go hand in hand and makes people of all races and cultures lash out. Stay strong. Lead by example. Teach when and where you can. The earth needs you and I, for one, thank you.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Your words are greatly appreciated, Rachel. I’m hoping you’ll come back and read what I will be posting later this evening. And thank you for your support.

  14. Phila Says:

    Reblogged this on the journey and commented:
    Why does Idle No More matter not only to Native Americans but also to non-Natives? Elyse Bruce gives a powerful answer.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Thank you so much for re-posting this on your blog site and for promoting it to your readership, Phila. People need to learn the details of what’s at stake.

  15. winterseeker Says:

    Reblogged this on greenpress~ and commented:
    Don’t just watch the movement…understand it, spread the awareness and be a part of it. #Idlenomore is not just a catch-phrase – it is a call for International solidarity and action for First Nations rights across the planet. Every contribution, protest, and voice will help make this movement a true force of change.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Thank you for re-posting this to your own blog site. You’re right when you say that “every contribution, protest, and voice will help make this movement a true force of change.”

  16. kelly davis Says:

    IDLE NO MORE is about PEACE ON EARTH … let’s all be LEADERS … What comes around goes around … You want Peace give Peace … !

  17. Loretta Says:

    Love and Peace and there will always be the cons who want justice and truth seekers put in prison–some even have a fetish for it it seems–I wish the medical cannabis community could take a lead from Idle and have anti-Greenism no more! You doing great and the World Is Watching! It is long overdue that Canada get it right with First Nations so please Idle NO MORE and more and more !!

  18. Crazy Horse Says:

    A new breed of warrior will arise from within social media… a warrior that can see the truth and see through the fog of hate and discrimination… the truth shall be told through this warrior, the truth shall reveal a past of injustice and reveal who hides behind the cloak that spread of stereotypical and propagated misconceptions… this warrior will reveal shall be me.

  19. Philip Morin Says:

    Over 80 years years ago the Government of Canada and the Government of Saskatchewan, gave the Churchill River Power Company the licencse to build a dam at the southend of Reindeer Lake Saskatchewan and an hydro facility at Island Falls Saskatchewan to provide electric power for the Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company in Flin Flon Manitoba. Neither the Governments or industry consulted with the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation that has occupied the region for hundreds of years. The facility was bought by SaskPower, a provincial government crown corporation, in 1982, once again with no consultation although the Cree Nation had stated their objection in 1976. Continued dialoque to date resulted with SaskPower agreeing to compensate the Cree Nation that has been rejected on the basis of non-recognition of sovereign rights to the land and water. Throughout the years SaskPower has flooded the Peter Ballantynr Cree Nation Reserves that at are located on the Reindeer Lake – Churchill River System as well as destroying the natural habitat and making seasonal travel very dangerous. Reindeer Lake is over 200 miles long and the The Chirchill River traverses northern Saskatchewan and Manitoba emptying in the Hudson Bay. The Cree Nation has sinced filed a court case and is not supportive of any other industrial development in their traditional lands until their is a favourable settlement. I was the PBCN Chief in the 1970s when we raised the outstanding concerns.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Philip, your story about your personal experiences coupled with some history on the subject of dams and their impact on the Cree Nation is very welcome. This would make an excellent blog article if you would like to share more details. Please let me know. Thank you.

  20. Harper Watch – January 1 to 7, 2013 | Harper Watch Says:

    […] Elyse Bruce Blog – Idle No More: About Those Indians So many have the mistaken belief that the ONLY thing that matters with the Idle No More movement are First Nation rights, and that Indigenous peoples are just whining and carrying on for no good reason. The Idle No More movement is so much more than just First Nations rights, but it certainly begins with First Nation rights, and there are most certainly a number of good reasons as to why people around the world should involve themselves in this movement…. Canadians and First Nations people had no say in the changes the government made to the  Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and scrapping the Navigable Waters Protection Act. […]

  21. renaissanzelady Says:

    Those who say ‘those Indians need to shut up” may be an attempting to ‘frame’ the ‘Indians’ as children, (or as women in some areas) not to be taken seriously. The phrase “children should be seen and not heard” was spoken to me when a child. Beings really introverted, I waited till legal age, then started to speak up, then met the ‘you’re just an emotional woman’ rebuttal, have spent my adult years learning cold logic so that I am more likely to be ‘heard’.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Sometimes even cold logic won’t work if you’re dealing with someone who has a closed mind and a cold heart. Knowing that, however, it’s easier to speak out and to continue speaking out because, as I’ve found, those who have closed minds and cold hearts are in the minority.

  22. Sheila Says:

    I think the Idle No More movement is a godsend. It’s opening the eyes of people all over the world to show just how the 1%ers want it all and the earth and it’s inhabitants, two and four-legged, don’t matter. The 1%ers want all the gold, oil, minerals, etc, and don’t care what they do to this earth, it’s waters and environment to get it. In the mean time, the rain forests, rivers, lakes, prairies……all of it, is destroyed in the process. Animals lose their habitat and become endangered or worse, extinct. The waters become polluted taking not only our drinking water away but also killing the fish, waterfowl and anything else that depend on it for survival.
    Many South Asians, especially the wealthy Chinese, are buying plots all over the world, ie) the oil sands in Canada, gold mines in Africa, killing animals (bears for their bile, big cats for their bones, rhino for their horn, elephants for their ivory, just to name a few) for all their so-called medicinal concoctions and for ornamental enjoyment.
    The native people want to protect our resources and if getting back their treaty rights protects this land, I say, ‘Idle No More’….and no, I am not Native. I just care for this land and it’s animals.

    • Elyse Bruce Says:

      Sheila, thank you for posting your thoughts on the subject. The short term benefits companies and government may reap from bad deals will come back to haunt all of us in the long run unless we speak up against those bad deals.

  23. Heather Richards Says:

    The beauty of the World is in its variety. Life is Life, no matter what form it takes. Destroy any form of life or any culture, it can never be resurrected or restored to the original. We need to learn from our mistakes, from the past, before we cause any more creatures to become extinct or destroy any more ecosystems. We so called “civilised” people need to listen to the indigenous peoples of the world, for they live closest to Mother Nature/Earth and are quick to notice when things are going wrong.

  24. Idle No More: Earth Day 2013 | Elyse Bruce Says:

    […] and safeguarding natural resources — especially water — is something that is also at the heart of the Idle No More […]

  25. Idle No More: Fighting To Protect The Land | Elyse Bruce Says:

    […] in December 2012, the Harper government destroyed decades of environmental legislation that protected the land. This […]

  26. Starting The Year With Gratitude | Elyse Bruce Says:

    […] In fact, the busiest day on this blog culminated in 4,619 unique views … most of which were for the second most popular article on my blog, “Idle No More: About Those Indians.” […]

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