Last year in late October four women from Saskatchewan, who were concerned about Bill C-45, decided to start a Facebook page called Idle No More. They had some meetings, a few events in a hand full of cities and one month later the Idle No More movement (http://www.idlenomore.ca/) was born.
Sylvia McAdam, Jess Gordon, Nina Wilson and Sheelah Mclean
The coming weeks and months brought protests, flash mobs, hunger strikes and more importantly conversations. These four lovely women reminded all of us we had a voice, a powerful one at that.
Inside us all we have seeds which remain “idle” or dormant just waiting for the right thought, the right experience to elicit the blossoming of an idea. This seed deep inside our First Nation friends has remained idle through many decades of suffering, neglect, pain, and ignorance from the rest of Canada. No more!
My generation and the ones before remained idle, becoming complacent while the world around us shape our vary being into something we are not. If we could look upon ourselves from outside in, we would cringe at what we’d see, what we’ve become. We let the world change us, instead of us changing the world. We replaced needs with wants, we have become addictive to consumption, we swapped compassion with compliance, we lost truth in our ignorance, and we have become quiet. No more!
When people come to examine any way of life in the world, they are conditioned not to expose their own social order to the same critical eye with which they view a different or opposed social order. This is because they identify with their own way of life as normality, and thus the other as abnormality. – John McMurtry (The Cancer Stage of Capitalism)
Whether we admit or not, I believe most Canadians (most anybody for that matter) have this notion that we are masters or hold dominion over all of life on this earth. One may deny that statement but we all live life that way in some form or another. We think that we’re somehow superior over all things living, be it the trees, the life bathing in our rivers and lakes, or the creatures that roam the lands. We look at a tree and see a tree which can be manipulated for our benefit, to build structures for shelter, for energy and warmth, for decor and cultural symbolism and so much more. It is easy for us to separate ourselves from our ecosystem and because of this we treat it as potential profit just as with all other resources we have manipulated for our benefit.
This needs to change, if we are to survive as a species we need to understand that we are one with all life on earth. We need to understand that damaging our ecosystem effect us. We need to see the earth as a system of all it’s parts not just the sum of all it’s parts. From a systems approach we see a tree differently; a tree is a system of it’s parts, the roots, the bark, leaves, the heartwood etc. But there is more, it is the nutrients in the soil, the water from the earth and air, the sunlight that shines down upon it. Even scientifically we could break down each part of the tree and see the systems of each individual part. This can be done with all of life including ourselves. Our bones and muscles, veins and nervous system, our many organs, again each can be broken down more. If we look beyond ourselves but without we’d cease to exist such as food, water, sun, shelter, the air we breathe, compassion, community living, love, kindness, friendships and so much more. When we start to see how all of life is interconnected and that the earth itself is a system of all it’s parts which we are a part of, only then can we begin to change. From the smallest of particles fluctuating in and out of time that make up all matter in the universe, to our solar system and each planet circling our sun, to the sun circling around the centre of our galaxy along with billions of other stars, we begin to see how lifeforms are in synergy with all other life-forms.
Our thinking has muddied and clouded over, for it is obvious when our thoughts are clear we witness cooperation as progress, community building, where ideas are born and expanded upon. But when cooperation is shrouded in competitiveness greed, manipulation, consumption, waste, and ignorance sets in thus dialogue and transparency is replaced with secretive misgivings.
Throughout our lives we have been conditioned to consume and because of this we have developed the habit of waste. Our new god is the almighty dollar and knowledge has slowly seeped from our being replaced by materialistic stuff and the need to survive in a fast pace society in spite of our technological advances. How can we change this, how can we begin to understand our destructive nature if we live in that which is destructive?
First we must water the seeds of change within us all. We must arm ourselves with knowledge so we can stand up to ignorance. We must step out of the shadows of party lines and blind loyalties so we can walk together as human beings and not aimlessly follow imaginary ideologies that only divide us.
Second we must learn from our First Nation friends the way of the earth, re-kindle what we have taken away from them so long ago. We must listen to their wise words as they know our lands as no other. They know when the Earth weeps. Let us be inspired by our First Nation’s young as they wake the seeds deep within them renewing conversations in our schools and universities. As our elders begin to pass the touch off to our young let us stand united as one voice in a sea of many voices.
To those who stand in our path, open your mind to conversations, let us begin a dialogue our grandchildren will be proud of. Where four stood as one, who became hundreds, which turned into thousands, together change is near. I stood still, now I’m Idle No More!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. – Margaret Mead
From CBC Information Morning Fredericton:
Idle No More Panel Part 1
Idle No More Panel Part 2
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