Over the past several months, we’ve seen Idle No More grow from a grassroots protest movement to an international phenomenon. In addition to blockades, flash mobs, and other creative acts of protest and resistance, proponents of the movement have centered decolonization through education.
As San Francisco State University Professor Joanne Barker writes, “One of the things that has differentiated Idle No More from Occupy Wall Street — a movement it has been incorrectly compared to from the beginning — has been its insistence on the pedagogical importance of and within the movement towards bringing about the changes it envisions.”
With this emphasis on pedagogy, Indigenous activist scholars and their allies have written and spoken extensively about the movement’s core objectives, while also placing Idle No More within historical and cultural contexts. Today, we offer a round-up of some of the key writings on the movement thus far. This list is by no means comprehensive, but should instead be seen as a starting point for understanding the origins and objectives of Idle No More.
Idle No More 101
Gyasi Ross, author, attorney, and member of the Blackfeet Nation, has written a number of articles aimed at describing the basics of the movement’s origins and objectives:
Still Don’t Know What #IdleNoMore is About? Here’s a Cheat-Sheet (Huffington Post)
Idle No More 101 (Racialicious)
Idle No More for Dummies (Indian Country Today)
The official Idle No More website is another great resource for finding out about the movement, as well as a listing of events, press coverage, and information about how to get involved. This list of bloggers is a particularly good resource for those looking to learn more about the movement.
Historical and Cultural Context
Glen Coulthard, member of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and assistant professor at the University of British Columbia, has provided critical historical context for the movement through a number of venues. In this video from the “Idle? Know More!” event, Coulthard argues that Idle No More is an “emergence of a fourth cycle of Indigenous peoples struggle for freedom and land in Canada since 1969″ — a year he marks as the beginning of the contemporary era of resistance. Dr. Coulthard has also published several articles that historicize the movement:
#IdleNoMore in Historical Context (decolonization.org)
‘Dismantling two centuries of privilege and power': Glen Coulthard on #IdleNoMore (interview on rabble.ca)
Fish Broth and Fasting (dividednomore.ca)
Idle No More: Where the Mainstream Media Went Wrong (The Media Co-op)
Idle No More and Indigenous Women
Indigenous women have been at the core of the Idle No More movement. Four women — Sheelah McLean, Sylvia McAdam, Nina Wilson and Jessica Gordon — were honored recently for turning the #IdleNoMore hashtag into a movement, chief Theresa Spence brought international attention to the movement through her hunger strike, and issues of violence against Aboriginal women has been a core rallying point from the outset. The following articles highlight the central role of Indigenous women In Idle No More:
University of British Columbia professor, Dory Nason (Anishinaabe), contributed a powerful blog post to decolonization. org. In the essay, “We Hold Our Hands Up: On Indigenous Women’s Love and Resistance,” Dr. Nason writes: “Movements like #IdleNoMore are more than a response to oppressive conditions that structure all of our lives. These movements are about the profound love that Indigenous women have for the future stability and health of their families, their land and their nations.”
Additional Blogs, Press Coverage, and Multi-Media
As Leanne Simpson writes, “Idle No More is not just a fight for Indigenous nations, land, culture, decolonization, language, treaties and the environment; it is also a fight for the fair and accurate representation of Indigenous Peoples and our issues. It is a fight for a better relationship, and that begins with truth, dialogue and respect.” To that end, the following blogs and news sources have featured regular coverage of Indigenous voices and self-representation in coverage of the Idle No More movement:
The Idle No More website has also compiled a number of videos from the movement. And check out the free music compilations, Idle No More Songs for Life Volumes One and Two. Bands like A Tribe Called Red and other music groups have produced songs and music videos that chronicle Idle No More.
Beyond Idle No More
If you know of other essays, blogs, or resources that you think should be included in this list, please post links in the comments section.