New voices cry out the same messages our Ancestors cried out centuries ago. In this era, the voices of the First Nations people of Canada are being heard all over the world. The movement known as “Idle No More” is a gathering of like minds that have had enough. They are voices that for way too long have been cruelly ignored and dismissed. There are sacred human spirits behind those voices.
Battle cries are historical and universal. They are meant to be heard. Although it can be compared to a battle cry, Idle No More is more a plea for peace. It is a universal cry for sanity. Oppression and hatred have been rulers long enough on our planet. An energy shift has taken place not only among First Nations but for many cultures that are expressing support from all around the world. This energy is not one that is fueled by anger, but one that is ignited by the desire to join and to connect with others. The Idle No More movement stands as a fitting catalyst for worldwide awakening.
The messages of our Ancestors pertained to the interconnectedness of all that is. The Earth, along with humans, plants, and animals are all connected to our Divine Maker, the Great Mysterious. Our Ancestors trusted completely in this great power, this great Source, and they were gifted with abundance beyond measure. They practiced appreciation, respect and love for the Earth Mother. Many great chiefs, elders and Medicine People voiced their wisdom and concerns for their people and the planet as colonialism expanded. In the end, the great leaders each chose what was best for the survival of their people and concerns shifted from justice and dignity to one of immediate and basic human survival. Somehow, the Native culture in North America has never recovered. Neither has our precious planet.
It’s the “somehow” that is being questioned by the Idle No More Movement. Somehow, although most civilized governments meet and discuss policies and issues in a dignified and respectful manner from nation to nation, the Canadian government has ignored such requests of First Nations People to the extent that a tribal chief has resorted to a hunger strike in order to be heard! Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence called on the Canadian government to honor and fulfill First Nations sovereignty and treaty rights. These rights cover a whole host of human rights issues plus many catastrophic ecological repercussions if not addressed by those in power immediately.
In line with the immediate nature of this movement, the sacred life of Chief Theresa Spence hangs in delicate balance. Although not so much to compare the desperate but noble actions of a hunger strike to the acts of the great Ancestors, they do have one important virtue in common. Within the battle cry of courageous leaders lies the willingness to sacrifice their lives for the good of all.
As the world joins in prayer and well wishes for First Nations and Chief Spence, could this finally be the breakthrough that First Nations and Native Americans have been waiting centuries for? In the prophetic words of war leader and Chief, Crazy Horse, of the Oglala Lakota, 1840-1877, “How many times must the white man break his word? How short are your memories that you again accept their promises…He put his name on the paper too many times before.”