Idle No More


Image courtesy Tannis Nielsen, 2012.

In 2012 the Harper government passed legislation that threatened the waters and First Nations sovereignty.  First Nations protested Harper’s legislation knowing the devastating implications that would result. Widespread protests grew into an Indigenous resurgence movement across Turtle Island that became known as Idle No More.   Flash mob round dances in shopping malls, and grassroots teach-ins on the colonial state of Canada drew heightened attention to Indigenous rights, and generated support for Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike .  Today we are still impacted by repurcussions of Bill C-45 and the Idle No More movement continues to evolve.  

Historical Thinking Questions

Check out the links provided and answer the following questions:

Children of the Poisoned River

1.   How does knowledge of the mercury contamination at Grassy Narrows give insight to the distress over Bill C-45?  (Historical Significance) 

To the Last Drop Part 1    Part 2    Part 3   

2.  Explain the impacts of the Athabasca tar sands on the Fort Chipewyan community. (Cause & Consequence) 

3. Evaluate the government’s response over the years to the negative impacts of the tar sands on water. (Cause & Consequence)

Elsipogtog in Five Minutes       Water Warriors film trailer        Fire Over Water Documentary 

4.  Assess the pros and cons of fracking for the government and people of Turtle Island. (Continuity & Change) 

5. “Why do you think it always comes down to a confrontation like that between police and Indigenous people?” (Continuity & Change) 

6.  “The Crown has a Duty to Consult”.  Assess the impact of this “legal standard grounded in the Canadian constitution.”  (Historical Significance)

7.   Why did Chief Sock stop engaging in negotiations for a revenue sharing agreement with New Brunswick?  How does this type of decision making, which is a characteristic of traditional Indigenous governance differ from the way Canada operates? (Historical Significance)

8.  What were the terms of the Peace and Friendship treaties?  (Historical Significance) 

9.  Why are these terms not honoured by the government today? (Historical Perspective)

9 Ways to Fight Fracking

10.  Explain the significance of treaties to non-Indigenous environmentalists concerned about recent laws that strip environmental protections. (Historical Significance)

11. In 2014 the premier of New Brunswick set a moratorium on fracking.  Identify probable causes for the province’s decision.  (Cause and Consequence)

Recommended Reading

The Winter We Danced edited by The Kino-nda-niimi Collective