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Idle No More needs to start at the bottom

Dear Editors, Some of my family and friends organize with Idle No More, and I have nothing but love and respect for them. But of course I have differences with a lot of things about the movement in general. In the past I have been harsh with my criticisms, and perhaps even destructive. But I’m

Dear Editors,

Some of my family and friends organize with Idle No More, and I have nothing but love and respect for them. But of course I have differences with a lot of things about the movement in general.
In the past I have been harsh with my criticisms, and perhaps even destructive. But I’m just as angry as everyone else, and am still in a learning process.
I’m trying to learn how to be critical without being destructive.

The other day, as INM Toronto was marching downtown, I couldn’t help but notice we were in the heart of my old stomping grounds. In fact we were in the heart of a lot of native people’s stomping grounds. Somehow I managed to find myself up in front with one of the organizers of the march. He asked me why I thought there was so few people coming out to INM events.

I told him, INM doesn’t speak for everyone. They think they do, but they don’t. I said, “in this neighbourhood, there’s a women’s shelter, a men’s shelter, a drop in centre, a police station and hospital. We have native people in every single one of these places. INM could have gone by all of these places, marching with the giant Two Row and stood in front of all these places, and sang an honour song for all our people’s in these buildings. They could have sent a message, that our people aren’t forgotten, and that INM is fighting for them too.

The majority of our people are to preoccupied with “just trying to survive” on the street to care about INM water and treaty rights. That’s the honest truth.”

Until there is a genuine grassroots movement that puts the most marginalized and most oppressed people at the forefront, it is doomed to fail. Let’s face it, most of us Indians are at the bottom rung of the ladder. And even that’s a far stretch, some of us aren’t even on the ladder. Unless the movement is led from the bottom up, its not going to move any further. In fact the movement has been regressing for quite some time.

Of course all of this is coming from an uneducated, broke Indian, who helps run a mostly deserted reclamation site. But just like I told the OPP and the MNR, I’m not moving anywhere either.

I have nothing but love for my friends and family that organize with INM. I just wanted to point out what I see as a major oversight.

Giibwanisi Dizhnikaaz

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