|January 24, 2013
Idle No More movement continues at Salish Kootenai College
By Lailani Upham
Salish Kootenai College campus makes an Idle No More stand Friday morning when a group of SKC students and staff, Polson High School Indian Club students, Two Eagle River students and staff, and community members trek across campus, cross over bridge to CSKT Tribal Complex Veterans memorial and back to end in a roundy. Hand drummers Sonny Doney, Antoine Paul, Ryan Upham, and Kaleb Auld. Doney lead the march. Doney, Paul and Upham have been consistent singers for the Missoula and Flathead Rez rallies. (Lailani Upham photo)
PABLO — The indigenous rights movement, Idle No More, has been gaining momentum since last month across Canada, the U.S., Montana, and the world– and Salish Kootenai Campus is no exception.
The Idle No More movement marched on at Salish Kootenai College last Friday morning at 10 a.m. to close out the week-long Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.
Approximately 150 people marched across campus and over the bridge to the Veteran’s Memorial teepee and circled back to campus to end with a customary round dance to show support indigenous neighbors of the North.
Local ladies Aspen Many Hides, Sasha Rivers and SKC Foundation Director Angelique Adams hold up support signs as the marchers cross over Pablo Bridge. (Lailani Upham photo)
The movement started in Canada to protest the government’s treatment of First Nations treaties rights. The first to act stir the outrage was the signing of Bill C-45 by Prime Minister Stephen Harper without discussions with First Nation leaders. Indigenous leaders say Bill C-45 violates claims to self-governance and control of traditional land bases.
The next phase to stir the demonstrations across Canada is when Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence declared a hunger strike on December 11, to call attention to the Idle No More movement and pressure Prime Minister Stephen Harper to scrap the controversial bill.
Maori couple Ruiha Ruwhiu and Karl Leonard supported the Idle No More movement by joining in the march at SKC. Leonard, a Fulbright Scholar, is teaching at SKC for the 2013 school year. Marchers make their way around the CSKT Veterans Memorial in Pablo. (Lailani Upham photo)
On January 11, an Idle No More march trekked across downtown Missoula, the same day Chief Spence was due to meet with Harper and Governor General David Johnston.
Harper stated he would be able to attend for half an hour only and Johnston stated he would not attend the meeting.
Spence called off her attendance and continued with the hunger strike.
The Idle No More campaign has turned into a world-wide dispute reaching far beyond an indigenous rights issue but, a human rights issue.
(L to R) Polson High School Indian Club students Payton Lefthand, Malia Hamel, Mc’Kia Gonzalez, Rocio Bautista, and Dan Lafranier show support. Lafranier a team player on 10Sticks Lacrosse, carried a lacrosse stick to show support for Canadian tribes as well, he stated. (Lailani Upham photo)
The movement moved like wildfire through the use of social media across the globe to spread its message and organize efforts.
SKC faculty and staff, Lori Lambert and Natalie Malaterre organized the march on SKC campus after the rally took place in Missoula the prior Friday.
The peaceful gathering lasted an hour and despite the colder morning weather supporters lingered a bit longer.
Idle No More organization state their responsibility is to to resist current government policies in a peaceful and respectful way.
The march wrapped back around to the SKC campus and ended with a round dance. Beautiful backup singers: Gigi Growing Thunder, Aspen Many Hides, Linda Ferris, Maii Pete, and Arlene Adams carry the singing to another level of finery as the dancers circle the drummers. (Lailani Upham photo)
The mission of Idle No More is to inform and make a stand without aggression or violence. Organizers have been holding traditional round dances as a friendly and upbeat protest. Round dance flash mobs have been hitting the streets across the country with an energetic, exciting in hopes to transform Indian communities via government policies.
The next local rally is scheduled at Caras Park in Missoula at 3 p.m. on Monday, January 28.
Organizers plan to march to the county courthouse.
For more information visit Idle No More Grand Entry March and Rally on Facebook.