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Local Idle No More movement calls for a Global Day of Action

By Lailani Upham

Several of the protestors to speak on Monday stated the issue was not just a Native issue but everyone’s responsibility to make sure land, air, and water remain clean for generations to come. The march ended in a round dance of Native and non-Native supporters making the rounds in front of the country court house in Missoula. (Lailani Upham photo) Several of the protestors to speak on Monday stated the issue was not just a Native issue but everyone’s responsibility to make sure land, air, and water remain clean for generations to come. The march ended in a round dance of Native and non-Native supporters making the rounds in front of the country court house in Missoula. (Lailani Upham photo)

MISSOULA — Over 100 supporters gathered on the front lawn of the Missoula County Court House last Monday, January 28 to stand in solidarity once again for the Idle No More movement.

Earlier in the month, on January 11, a march and round dance was held in Missoula on the Higgins Avenue Bridge. Both rallies began at Caras Park.

Right: (L to R) Shayla Walking Child, Amanda Walking Child, Sonny Doney, Kyle Felsman, Ryan Upham, and Wes Brown lead with songs on the second Idle No More march in Missoula this past month. (Lailani Upham photo) Right: (L to R) Shayla Walking Child, Amanda Walking Child, Sonny Doney, Kyle Felsman, Ryan Upham, and Wes Brown lead with songs on the second Idle No More march in Missoula this past month. (Lailani Upham photo)

Monday’s march was marked globally as a “World Day of Action.”

The organizers were from the previous Missoula rally and are all are based on the Flathead Reservation: Craig Pablo, April Charlo, Dean Nicolai, Antoine Paul and Jimmy Ray O’Neill.

The group urged the supporters to come out in regalia, preferably jingle dress dancers to dancing in a “healing dance,” according to their Facebook Idle No More Grand Entry March and Rally.

CSKT tribal member Claire Charlo, right, carries “Respect Treaty Rights” sign and was one of the rally speakers Monday afternoon. Charlo graduated from the University of Arizona Law School and works with high-risk youth in the criminal tribal court system. (Lailani Upham photo) CSKT tribal member Claire Charlo, right, carries “Respect Treaty Rights” sign and was one of the rally speakers Monday afternoon. Charlo graduated from the University of Arizona Law School and works with high-risk youth in the criminal tribal court system. (Lailani Upham photo)

The supporters on the steps of the Missoula County Court House were part of thousands of protesters associated with the Idle No More movement in Canada and across the globe to demonstrate advocating for indigenous rights, human rights and environmental protection in a peaceful way.

The effort of the movement is to seek more equitable relationships with governments and indigenous nations and urging the governments to repeal all legislation that violates treaties, tribal sovereignty and environmental protections of land and water.

April Charlo, supporter and organizer urged the supporters to remember the cause of not only standing up for protection of land and water but also of each other. “As native people we have an inherent knowledge to protect this planet, that is why we all came out – native and non-native.”

Perry sisters, Courtney, eleventh grader, and Nicole, eighth grader, support Idle No More movement and offer a side-step in honor of the Idle No More movement and Chief Theresa Spence, stated Courtney. (Lailani Upham photo) Perry sisters, Courtney, eleventh grader, and Nicole, eighth grader, support Idle No More movement and offer a side-step in honor of the Idle No More movement and Chief Theresa Spence, stated Courtney. (Lailani Upham photo)

The movement has gained significant momentum through social media in recent weeks around the world, Montana and the local area. An increasing number of tribal communities have joined forces and continue to march on.

The next scheduled march is scheduled at the Capitol in Helena on Monday, February 18 at noon.

“The Idle No More Rally and Round Dance at the Montana Capitol” is organized through Facebook by Elrae Potts, Michaelynn Hawk, Charles Walking Child and Cheryl Eagle.

Ya-ya Arlene Adams, CSKT tribal member, stands in support of the Idle No More movement with her three grandchildren, Lawi, 4; Dannon, 2; and Dezalyn, 1. (Lailani Upham photo) Ya-ya Arlene Adams, CSKT tribal member, stands in support of the Idle No More movement with her three grandchildren, Lawi, 4; Dannon, 2; and Dezalyn, 1. (Lailani Upham photo)

The group states, “Please join the Indian People’s Action in solidarity for an Idle No More March and round dance at the state capitol in Helena. Together we will send a message to our political leaders that we are advocating for their constituents across the state. We hope to join forces with all interested people regardless of race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, etc., and show up by the hundreds. This rally and round dance will be held on Lobby Day and we’d like to join forces with others who are advocating for their causes. Idle No More is not just an Indian issue. It’s about unification of people for social, racial, economic and environmental justice. Let our voices be heard together.”

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