#IdleNoMore alive and well, University of Alberta forum hears

by Stephen Petrina on February 9, 2013

Edmonton Journal, Alexander Zabjek, February 8, 1013 — The Idle No More Movement is not dead, dying, or dormant.

That was the message at a University of Alberta forum Friday that attracted more than 300 participants and nine speakers, including Chief Theresa Spence of Attawapiskat in northern Ontario.

Spence, via video link from her home community, was making her first major public appearance since ending her six-week fluid-only diet in Ottawa two weeks ago. Spence started her protest around the same time as Idle No More gained speed but the two protests were separate entities with separate tactics, although Spence often seemed to dominate headlines.

On Friday, however, Spence urged First Nations leaders to work with the Idle No More movement and other grassroots organizations. She said she was glad to be back in her home community and spoke relatively briefly, alongside Danny Metatawabin, her spokesperson during her protest,

“In retrospect, I see (she) really drew attention to Canada’s indigenous people, not just in Canada but outside Canada. People started to hear about this First Nations chief in Canada who is on a hunger strike in this country that is supposed to be such a great place to live,” said speaker Tanya Kappo, of the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation, after the forum.

Kappo was the first person to use the Twitter hashtag #idlenomore in December and has spoken extensively about the Conservative government’s Bill C-45 and the effect it will have on laws governing navigable waterways. She addressed the crowd with personal stories of activism, including the time she explained to her young son why she couldn’t in good conscience attend Alberta’s centennial celebrations.

Read More: Edmonton Journal