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Interview: Indigenous Occupy


The following is my latest interview from Russia Today

 

An indigenous movement known as ‘Idle No More’ is gaining momentum in Canada. The First Nations people have promised to bring the country’s economy ‘down to its knees’ if aboriginals’ voices remain unheard.

Having begun with four members in November, Idle No More has now become reminiscent of other grassroots movements like Occupy Wall Street.

Canadian Prime Minster Stephen Harper has agreed to meet with native chiefs on Friday to discuss disagreements over treaty rights and other grievances. Despite him promising to pay more attention to their demands, the meeting did not resolve any real issues.

Before the meeting, hundreds of indigenous activists protested in front of the Canada’s parliament, demonstrating their frustration, but also highlighting a deep divide within the country’s First Nations on how to push Ottawa to heed their demands.

Mass demonstrations have been sparked by Bill C-45, which was passed by the Canadian government in December. The legislation amends rules about the community’s land and protesters say it undermines century-old treaties by altering the approval process for leasing aboriginal lands to outsiders and changing environmental oversight in favor of natural resource extraction.

“Bill C-45 is not just about a budget, it is a direct attack on First Nations lands and on the bodies of water we all share from across this country,” Idle No More said in a statement on its website.

first-march-parliament-hill

“Canada is becoming essentially the world’s No.1 corporate colony,” claimed independent researcher and writer Andrew Gavin Marshall. “Our prime minister has negotiated or is negotiating eight free trade agreements – this is opening up Canada to unhindered corporate plundering of the environment and resources. Indigenous peoples are at the front lines of that because their communities are hit first and they are hit hardest. So they may be facing the final stages of the 500-years genocide.”

In an interview with RT, Marshall said the Idle No More movement puts a spotlight on a broad range of problems within Canada. The movement is a resurgence of indigenous resistance against colonialism and oppression, he explained. Apart from that, it addresses human issues, the environment, the economy and society in general.

“In Canada we have essentially what amounts to apartheid system in how we treat the indigenous population. In their communities they have less access to water, food insecurity.”

Another serious issue is the situation that indigenous women are facing. “We have huge numbers of murdered or missing aboriginal women. The police don’t care. It’s unaccounted for.”

As the movement is gaining moment it is spreading outside Canada with hundreds of protests held across the world, Marshall says.“It’s been spreading globally because indigenous issues are human issues and are relevant everywhere around the world. It can spread in the same way the Occupy spread – largely through social media.”

Canadian society is waking up to the fact that the world has changed, Marshall argues.

“You have a youth movement here in Quebec and now an indigenous movement across the country and spreading.”

“What’s happening is part of the global phenomenon of change. This has no national boundaries, this is about people waking up to the power systems that exist and demanding and fighting for change,” he told RT.

“What aboriginal people in Canada are teaching us is that to protect the environment we have to address empire and that’s the reality that people everywhere are facing. As well as economic injustice – these are all related issues – we can’t deal with them separately. We have to deal with them collectively and we have to act on them collectively.”

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6 Comments

  1. chrissea says:

    We also have to quit trying to work within special interest group so-called “governments”. harper should not have been able to even get into government in the first place. He’s biased beyond belief with his and his family’s interests/agenda/religious leanings/money grubbing ways and control tactics. The rest of the world is rightfully getting disgusted with us and our power trips.

    Our system (and most) are flawed. Top down corporate controlled gov’ts have to go. Time for the people to trust each other and look after ourselves and each other. We don’t need rulers. We do co operate when not messed up.

    harpers policy’s make him unfit to govern or for that matter, parent. He has no empathy, and he hasn’t got a grip on the future costs of his short sighted decisions that have been pushed on the canadian people, he will ruin our HEALTH. harpers got to go with this corrupt system of ruling.

    Let’s do it before he calls in the guards on our brothers and sisters, because he will make no mistake about it.

    “What are you going to do when minority means you?”

    Let’s act together now and quit being so naive and complacent. Our water and our environment and our food and air and shelters are what keep all of us alive, we can’t be messing with it.

  2. Flip Ross says:

    Well said Andrew. Keep up the good work!

  3. Hi Andrew,   I always enjoy reading your articles and listening to the inerview you gave to James Corbette.  I am from Newfoundland and have been living in Taiwan and now China for the past 14 years, rarely do I go back home but I try to keep track of what’s going on.   There’s something I’m wondering if you picked up on.  Not long ago, the city of Toronto banned the sale of Shark fin soup in restaurants and the Chinese community went to court and the court ruled the city had no power to ban shark fin.  The Chinese were arguing it was an attack on their culture–apparently they have the right to come to Canada and have the same rights as we do, including the right to destroy the ocean by eating shark fin, which basically tastes like finger nails.   On the other hand, Taiwan, which is more Chinese than China, they just banned all seal products. They used to import over 400 tons of seal oil capsules from Newfoundland, which means quite a few people there were buying it, but now it’s banned.  So I’m just wondering about the hypocrasy in this.  The seals are not in anyway endangered, but they are cute and their oil has some nutritional benefit.  Sharks on the other hand have no nutritional benefit and they are endangered yet necessary for the ocean ecosystem, but they’re ugly and scary.   Now I am in no way an advocate of the industrial seal hunt, but I can’t help but notice a double standard here.  Why is it that Canada allows the Chinese to eat shark in Canada even though it is bad for the earth?  It’s like I’ve been in Taiwan and China for a long time, and they don’t give Canadians like me any where near the same kind of rights.  Even though I’ve been here for more than a decade, I’m not a citizen, I can’t vote, I have to renew my visa every year, yet if these people go to Canada, they get full rights and privileges.  I wonder if Chinese people in Canada can take Chinese New Year off?  I’ve worked every Chirstmas here since 1999, where’s the reciprocity?   I’m not in anyway racist or think that we shouldn’t respect other cultures, but respect is a two way street—if they want to eat shark fin in Toronto then they sould not try to stop the sale of seal oil in Taipei.

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