Sub zero temperatures didn’t deter a crowd of people from marching on the Peace Bridge on Saturday afternoon to stand up for the environment. The participants were rallying in opposition to the announcement endorsing the Northwest Pipeline by the National Energy Board and continued negligence by the Canadian government in its duty to consult First Nations as resource extraction ramps up.
A contingent of First Nations and supporters joined in song, carrying flags and signs and marched into the wind to converge on the “international border” at the center of the Peace Bridge on a frigid but sunny day. Marking the one year anniversary of the Peaceful Awareness Rally that occurred during the height of the #idlenomore movement, the group drew supporters from both sides of the bridge, symbolizing that the “borders crossed through our territories” and that the Canada-US border is not a native construct.
After a tobacco ceremony, Tanhee Sky Bennet debuted her song “Strong Warriors” in the cold air to the chorus of whipping winds and supportive hand drums to a crowd of all ages. Community activists gave rousing speeches in support of the environment, honoring the treaties, and calling for more unity across indigenous communities. The group finished by singing the AIM song, a popular inter-tribal that has become a rallying cry for First Nations demanding change over the past few decades.
With some controversy around events such as the Mall of America round dance, it was a priority of this rallies organizers to gain support from the appropriate channels. Local authorities and organizers worked together closely on all the details to create a safe and successful event.