Idle No More: Is It A Dead Duck Movement?


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According to Statistics Canada, the National Household Survey for 2011 reported that Aboriginals make up 4.3% of the total Canadian population.  The breakdown showed that 60.8% identified as First Nations, 32.3% identified as Metis, and the 4.2% identified as Inuit.  The balance reported more than one Aboriginal identity.  Statistics Canada also reported that as of July 1, 2014 the population of Canada was estimated at 35,540,400.

The Idle No More movement is a grassroots movement that has spanned the globe since it began over two years ago.  Among the many actions being taken in the name of Idle No More, they include taking issue with these bills:

  • Bill C-38 (Budget Omnibus Bill #1)
  • Bill C-45 (Budget Omnibus Bill #2)
  • Bill C-27 First Nations Financial Transparency Act
  • Bill S-2 Family Homes on Reserve and Matrimonial Interests or Right Act
  • Bill S-6 First Nations Elections Act
  • Bill S-8 Safe Drinking Water for First Nations
  • Bill C-428 Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act
  • Bill S-207 An Act to amend the Interpretation Act
  • Bill S-212 First Nations Self-Government Recognition Bill
  • “First Nations” Private Ownership Act

All of this is a good thing as the issues at hand affect not only Indigenous peoples, but all people directly and indirectly.

As with every movement, there are supporters and detractors, and the Idle No More movement is no stranger to the polarization that is part of not only the movement but those involved with the movement.  The question most often heard, however, is why do so many believe that the movement’s time has come and gone so soon after it began with great promise?  Part of it has to do with how many Indigenous peoples in Canada are actively involved in the movement.

The fact of the matter is that 4.3% of Canada’s population translates into 1,528,237 people … not an unremarkable number of people.  It’s a bit more than half the number of people living in Toronto (ON).  It’s almost as many people as all the people living in Montreal (QC).  It’s nearly twice as many people as all the people living in cities such as Ottawa (ON), Edmonton (AB), and Winnipeg (MB).  It’s three times as many people as all the people living in cities such as Brampton (ON), Hamilton (ON), and Quebec City (QC).

And yet, the members in various Idle No More groups on Facebook are relatively small … sometimes outrageously small, numbering in the low hundreds.  Events that are well advertised on social media have even smaller numbers of Indigenous peoples turning out to support the focus of the Idle No More movement than are found in the online groups.

Most troublesome, however, are the large numbers of conspiracy theorists and people misusing the cause to agitate and cause discord not only between Native and non-Native people, but also among Aboriginals.

Has the Canadian government created and promoted genocidal policies against First Nations peoples over the generations?  Facts have proven that to be true.  Does the Canadian government continue to support and promote policies that are in keeping with these previous policies that were created and promoted in previous generations?  Facts have proven that to be true.

That being said, it would seem that paranoia and conspiracy theories are defining the movement more and more these days.

Scientists have proven that those who believe conspiracy theories buy into them because they create a sense of control within those believing in them.  It’s a fact of nature that people generally dislike randomness, sometimes to the point of hating it.  Those who are unwilling to accept the randomness presented by evidence-based situations default to conspiracy theories that don’t need factual evidence to support them.  In light of factual evidence, those who buy into conspiracy theories dismiss the factual evidence under the guise of believing there’s a global conspiracy to whitewash facts in favor of government-approved fiction.

Does this mean that uneducated, gullible people are the only ones who fall for conspiracy theories? No.  What this means is that cognitive dissonance, motivated reasoning and confirmation bias create a thought process where facts and evidence are disregarded in favor of the emotional belief instead.  It means that many people are desperate to find a cause for bad events that happen, settle their fears, and put an end to the uncertainty in their lives.  And when birds of a feather flock together, they reinforce each other’s beliefs.

It’s time for people within the Idle No More movement to take a stand against conspiracy theorists who are derailing the good work and focus of the grassroots movement.  It’s time for more than just a small segment of the Aboriginal population in Canada to be active in the Idle No More movement.

To bring about positive change, those associated with the movement have to stick to facts and evidence, not conspiracy and fiction.  The more people who buy into conspiracy theories while publicly associating themselves with the Idle No More movement, the more likely that people who  base their comments and actions on facts and evidence will distance themselves from the movement.

Do we really want the Idle No More movement to become a dead duck movement?  Remember that there’s a well-known saying that dates back to the early 1820’s and it’s this: Never waste powder on a dead duck.

Elyse Bruce

Suggested Reading

Why Do People Believe In Conspiracies?

The More Inept You Are The Smarter You Think You Are


2 Responses to “Idle No More: Is It A Dead Duck Movement?”

  1. Beverly Says:

    Could it be that we are trusting in non Native People as being a part of the Movement, when in fact they in the past, have little to do with the Native American. I would love to believe the NAACP would want to help, but in reality? I don’t know!!! There has been too many, many in sheep’s clothing in our past……I just don’t know. I do think American Indians need to step it up……

  2. Idle No More: Dead Duck Update | Elyse Bruce Says:

    […] Idle No More: Is It A Dead Duck Movement? […]

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