EDITORIAL: Idle No More stokes the fire

Both sides need to come to the table with a goal of finding tangible solutions to the most serious aboriginal issues

The Idle No More movement continues to pick up steam around Greater Victoria as various groups, including the students who rallied here last weekend, jump on board.

But is all the drumming and chanting doing any good?

A Canadian Press Harris-Decima poll done earlier this month found that only four in 10 Canadians is sympathetic to the goals and aims of Idle No More. But the same poll found that fewer than four in 10 Canadians were even familiar with the goals and aims of the movement.

To us, that’s a big disconnect and a sign that supporters aren’t piquing the average citizen’s interest with demonstrations, sit-ins and hunger strikes. That doesn’t mean we don’t have plenty of work to do to resolve systemic problems in the relationship between First Nations and government.

Getting key players on both sides to sit down and talk about those issues is a good start.

Assembly of First Nations national chief Shawn Atleo, who met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper on Jan. 11, says his organization will pressure the feds to continue working toward improving that relationship.

Atleo and Harper met a year ago in what the Prime Minister’s Office called “a historic meeting.” In optimistic, yet vague fashion, the government titled the meeting Strengthening Our Relationship – Unlocking Our Potential.

No doubt, work has since been done to clarifying agreed-upon goals around governance, access to education, community self-sufficiency and other areas. Idle No More emerged, nonetheless, which makes one question whether Harper and company were paying lip service to First Nations last January.

Despite the seeming disconnect with the majority of Canadians, the grassroots protest movement has restoked the fire in First Nations and is slowly getting non-aboriginals to pay more attention to grassroots aboriginal issues.

But progress won’t come through noisy demonstrations and hunger strikes. It’ll be achieved through First Nations leaders working together with government using a focused, unified, businesslike approach.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Organizer, Victoria councillor, VicPD talk about upcoming rally for Black lives

‘It’s a simple ask’: Peace rally for Black lives organizer asks people to listen

PHOTOS: Dozens show up to rebuild vandalized Victoria people-less protest

Chalk messages of support surround the fountain in Centennial Square

George Floyd mural appears on Victoria street

Victoria artist Paul Archer painted the mural outside his shop on Fort Street

Playgrounds back in the swing of things on the West Shore

Langford, View Royal, Colwood reopen parks, playgrounds

Sooke fitness facilities reopen to the public

Extra measures set in place to ensure user safety

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

POLL: Are you sending your children back to school this month?

Classrooms looked decidedly different when students headed back to school for the… Continue reading

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Plan in place for BC Ferries to start increasing service levels

Ferry corporation reaches temporary service level agreement with province

B.C. starts to see employment return under COVID-19 rules

Jobless rate for young people still over 20% in May

Most Read