The social movement “Idle No More” started in Canada some three months ago as a way to draw attention to the alleged abuse of indigenous treaty rights by Canada’s Harper government. Now the movement has made its way to Alaska where a series of solidarity “flashmob” demonstrations have began popping up in public spaces, according to the Juneau Empire.
On Friday, Alaskan supporters of “Idle No More” occupied the Sealaska Plaza in downtown Juneau where they sang, played drums and handed out information. Nacey Keen, who helped organize the flashmob, distributed pamphlets written by Canadian activists and “Idle No More” allies Tobold Rollo and Taiaiake Alfred.
“I got the pamphlets together to provide information to people. Information is what we really need to get out to the people,” said Keen. “I feel like my position right now, my role in this whole thing, is to provide whatever information I can.” Keen added, “(In Canada) They’re actually setting the precedent. This affects us too in the United States. It affects us in Alaska.”
Alaska Native storyteller Ishmael Hope has been involved with “Idle No more” in Juneau and agrees that the movement’s message goes beyond the politics of anyone tribe or nation. Hope told the Empire, “O n a deeper level, something I really love about this movement is it helps get people together, and right now, all we’re doing — we’re not making big speeches,” said Hope. “We’re getting together and we’re singing our ancient clan songs. … What this helps us remember is there’s no separation between a culture, our language and our sovereignty. They strengthen each other. So we sing our songs, we know ourselves more and we’re able to stand up for ourselves better."
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