First Nations speaking out across Canada

Idle No More movement stops by Victoria's Bay Centre

Hundreds of people stopped to watch a protest by First Nations groups and supporters of the Idle No More movement inside the Bay Centre on Dec. 21.

Hundreds of people stopped to watch a protest by First Nations groups and supporters of the Idle No More movement inside the Bay Centre on Dec. 21.

A grassroots movement started by various First Nations is ringing loud and clear in Victoria.

The Idle No More movement stems from the work of four Manitoba women – Nina Wilson, Sheelah Mclean, Sylvia McAdam and Jessica Gordon – to rally First Nations that are frustrated with the federal government.

Last Friday (Dec. 21), the movement boomed its message through The Bay Centre in downtown Victoria, where dozens of people formed a drum circle and hundreds more looked on.

The peaceful protesters played in unison for about 20 minutes while others linked hands and participated in a traditional round dance.

Victoria police and security guards looked on, but did not intervene. The protest then moved down Government Street to the legislature.

According to the group’s website, idlenomore.ca, Bill C-45 gives the minister of aboriginal affairs and northern development the power to easily privatize reserve land. The groups claims that would allow oil, nuclear and gas companies to tear up land for profit.

“This is an attempt to take away sovereignty and the inherent right to land and resources from First Nations peoples,” reads the group’s manifesto.

The group also supports Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence, who as of today had been on a hunger strike for 17 days. She is demanding a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to address First Nations concerns.

Spence made headlines in 201l when she declared a state of emergency in her community due to the the poor state of housing. The government intervened and sent emergency supplies.

To learn more, go to idlenomore.ca or search #IdleNoMore on Twitter.

– with files from the Red Deer Advocate

dpalmer@vicnews.com